Designed Communality: A Synergic Context for Community and Privacy

  • Aristide H. Esser


We ought to design in the image of man evolving, confronted as we are with the divergent results of human creation and their lost contexts. The overwhelming complexity of human endeavors appears to prohibit the synergic benefits of our cumulative experience, I propose to evaluate the potential for synergy of design, based on what is known about brain/behavior/environment.

The Central Nervous System (CNS) as the seat of our experiences, creates context: the fit between behavior and environment. Creation of context is made possible by synergy, whereby parts of a system potentiate each other to provide meaning. Synergy in the brain and in society can be positive or negative, desired or unwanted. In this chapter I shall use the term only in its positive sense as in the creation of context.

The introduction to this chapter will define terminology. The next section offers a discussion of the evolution of the CNS and its environmental counterparts. The important point here is that our environmental realities are perceived differently on the nonverbal and verbal levels of the brain. Additionally, on the latter level, language and hunan prostheses have created analogues of the functional brain levels in society. These complex analogues appear to lead a life of their own and make it hard for us not to consider them part of the perennial natural world. The following section attempts to explain how the environmental change process responds to recurrent challenges in human evolution. The revieza of design responses to deal with needs for community and privacy through history leads to a discussion of the reasons for loss of context, especialy in industrial urban areas, and why some of the proposed solutions have not worked.

In today’s urban environments context is hard to create because the bits and pieces and their functions appear to have lost meaning. A new framework for communality can restore it, and, consequently, a change of paradigm is proposed in the section on obstacles to synergy. The final section of this chapter suggests ways of irrrproving synergy of verbal and nonverbal functions, or the left and right brain hemispheres and their societal analogues, using a complementary model. The chapter ends Faith a discussion of aspects of synergy useful in design.


Limbic System Brain Level Moral Imagination Design Communality Societal Structure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aristide H. Esser
    • 1
  1. 1.The Association for the Study of Man-Environment Relations, Inc.OrangeburgUSA

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