Scale and Scope

Scale and Scope

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Peter McFarlane, "Obsolete", circuit board and skeleton (all rights http://petermcfarlane.com/)

This working group explores the ways scale and scope factor into the histories of planning. Two further working groups have been generated, Moving Crops and Planning and Counter-Planning. Visiting scholars work on individual projects while the group explores the role of scale and scope in historical knowledge dynamics: on territorial and temporal scales, and as seen in processes of synergy, extrapolation, and scalability.When a project moves from plan to process, it involves shifts in scale and scope. Small-scale models are used to prognosticate the success of large scale projects; short-term trials are used to predict the path of long-term developments. Expanding complex ventures from the local to the regional, national, even global scale involves revisiting and revising the axioms for success. Repeated iterations of the same event create new patterns unforeseen in planning processes. Scientists, planners, politicians, and laypeople carry out such processes of knowledge creation and manipulation as pre-planned projects grow, adapt, and conform to local conditions.

These shifts in scale and scope include transplantations and adaptations of knowledge systems from one locale to another; the imposition of regimes of planning in new social contexts; and the temporal expansion and contraction of systems of control and commerce. When the scale or scope of projects change, knowledge systems must change in accommodation. By shifting between the specific and the general, the instantaneous and the long-term, scientists and planners find ways both to manage complexity and to approach simplicity.