15 Transformations

 

In the four-volume Nature of Order (best summarized here), Christopher Alexander identifies 15 properties that appear to be critical aspects of living systems and states that they also function as wholeness-preserving transformations that enrich and extend such systems, and provide a practical means for participating in their complexity. In fact, Alexander subsequently opened a conversation about the linkages between his findings as an architect with complexity theory.

I’ve found that this framework is vital to genuinely understanding and appying any pattern language, particularly as a means for engaging in the extension and healing of complex social systems and organizations. And it could provide a practical language (in the literal sense) for introducing complexity theory into grassroot community transformation.

Here are the fifteen properties/transformations. Over time I’ll clarify how I see them applying to the task of community/organization building.

Levels of Scale
Strong Centers
Thick Boundaries
Alternating Repetition
Positive Space
Good Shape
Local Symmetries
Deep Interlock
Contrast
Gradient
Roughness
Echoes
The Void
Simplicity
Not-Separateness