Cultural Heritage

Kruf, J.P. (2019) Cultural heritage [fine art print].

Cultural heritage (Pantone Pastel Yellow) is the felt DNA of society. It most of the time contrasts as a light in-depth perspective on past days with the hectic world of the city of today (Pantone Chili Pepper). The governing system with its rules and regulations (Pantone Jet Black) comes in. The white fields (Pantone Snow White) are the opening spots to the new world, the pristine fields to be discovered.

It is this composition that comes into my mind when society is ignited to reorient and even redesign itself when society is at the brink of rewriting and rethinking its own history, its past, but more than that, it’s future. Society changes in color palette from heritage pastel yellow into dynamic chili pepper, the hot variant.

This design is available as fine art print.

Representatieve democratie

Kruf, J.P. (2017) Representatieve democratie.

De zwarte pion in het schaakspel kan worden beschouwd als de vertegenwoordiger van hen door wie het is gekozen, de witte pionnen. Het is een rol – niets meer, niets minder – die hij of zij krijgt toebedeeld om te besturen en te beslissen in de geest van en in de behoefte aan. Burgers en bestuurders hebben, zo beschouwd, dezelfde hoogte. Dit is een wezenlijk uitgangspunt van de idee van representatieve democratie. Dit beeld is een metafoor, uiteraard. De vergelijking met de werkelijkheid gaat in veel gevallen mank, helaas. Hoewel, zeker niet altijd. Er zijn voorbeelden, die de regel bevestigen. Dat zijn de echte leiders.

De zwarte pion als onderdeel van de groep, van de samenleving, onder de mensen toegankelijk, luisterend, transparant, verbindend, communicerend, de eigen achtergrond nooit vergetend of verloochenend en vooral wetend dat het niet meer is als de witte pion. Zou dat niet geweldig zijn!?

Camouflage in the city

Kruf, J.P. (2015) Camouflage in the city. Verona.

This palette of colour and construction finds its base in the combination of city regulation, the use of different materials, the progressive insights in and possibilities for the creation of new infrastructure to ease interior lifestyle as well as of the personal colour touch of the owner of this house in the centre of the City of Verona. It is a form of camouflage, at least a very nice try. The image is fully packed with information.

Lost in the City

Kruf, J.P. (2018) Lost in the City [fine art print]. Breda: Governance Connect.

Can someone get lost in the city? I do not mean the romantic kind of lost, on a late evening wandering through the city of Paris with your love in search for your hotel. Not the philosophical, in search for existentialism, the Jan-Paul Sartre or Albert Camus-like kind of lost.

I do mean the type of Corona, isolation or loneliness kind of lost. Yes it can, to get lost in the city, to get disconnected from the fibres of the city, to be erased from the chessboard of life. This is how it could feel like.

Resilience of what to what?

Pompen, L. (2015). Sol? No!. Cambodia.

What is resilience? Well, there is no simple answer to this. The concept is in development in different sciences and recently entered the public governance domain related to the social-ecological system of society. Resilience is the new buzzword. Millions of years it played an essential role in natural ecosystems, now it has been launched as new concept for thinking and acting from government perspective. But where is it about? The ability to endure stress and still be able to perform or the capacity to recover after a catastrophe? Maybe both?

The question can not be answered or even is meaningless without putting it in the context resilience of what to what? In our approach we focus on the resilience of the ecosystem city to specific external (abiotic, climate change)) or internal (biotic, virus attack) caused disturbances.

“Resilience has multiple levels of meaning: as a metaphor related to sustainability, as a property of dynamic models, and as a measurable quantity that can be assessed in field studies of socioecological system (SES). The operational indicators of resilience have, however, received little attention in the literature. To assess a system’s resilience, one must specify which system configuration and which disturbances are of interest.”


C. S. Holling (1973) introduced the word resilience into the ecological literature as a way of helping to understand the non-linear dynamics observed in ecosystems. Since then the concept diversified in all directions. Resilience is wide interpreted and used, it is difficult to understand and therefore possibly of limited use for precise governance. Like accountability, new normal, alignment, roadmap, risk, streamline and sustainability it can become a container concept and a buzzword.

“Resilience,” like love, is difficult to define, yet everyone – from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to government agencies, company boards, and community groups – is talking about how to build or maintain it. So, is resilience a useful concept or a meaningless buzzword?


For the core definition of resilience, we go back to the forest. It is a simple and therefore generally applicable definition.

‘Resilience is the ability to bounce back, basically in the face of disturbance, maintaining functions and structures of the system and recovering from the disturbance.”


The resilience of the ecosystem city is telling the story of the balancing act of the population in the present habitat of the city. Of course, there are many layers of habitats within the city and some justify to zoom in and consider resilience on a lower level. In general, it is like when you have plans to investing your money in stocks and funds: results in the past are no guarantee for the future.

It is with resilience like looking into the mirror: you know where you are and where you come from, not so much about where you are going and what will happen. It is hard to predict how future external developments influence the habitat of communities and whether they will exceed the resilience of the system and whether the system is able to tackle change properly.

To let resilience successfully – and Brian Walker (2017) from Resilience Alliance underlines the (urgent) need for this – enter the stage of public governance it is wise to start with using it always in the context resilience of what to what (Carpenter et al., 2001).


Carpenter, S., Walker, B., Anderies, J. and Abel, N. (2001) From Metaphor to Measurement: Resilience of What to What?. Ecosystems 4, 765–781.

Holling, C.S. (1973) Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. Vol. 4:1-23 (Volume publication date November 1973).

Seidl, Rupert (2019) Voices of Resilience

Walker, Brian (2015) What is resilience? Project Syndicate.

Walker, Brian (2017). Brian Walker at Resilience 2017. Stockholm.

The Lonely City: Adventures in the art of being alone.

What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we’re not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens?

“Loneliness, I began to realise, was a populated place: a city in itself. And when one inhabits a city, even a city as rigorously and logically constructed as Manhattan, one starts by getting lost”

When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving fluidly between works and lives – from Hopper’s Nighthawks to Warhol’s Time Capsules, from Henry Darger’s hoarding to David Wojnarowicz’s AIDS activism – Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone.

“Loneliness is personal, and it is also political. Loneliness is collective; it is a city. As to how to inhabit it, there are no rules and nor is there any need to feel shame, only to remember that the pursuit of individual happiness does not trump or excuse our obligations to each another. We are in this together, this accumulation of scars, this world of objects, this physical and temporary heaven that so often takes on the countenance of hell. What matters is kindness; what matters is solidarity. What matters is staying alert, staying open, because if we know anything from what has gone before us, it is that the time for feeling will not last.” 

About the feeling many of us will know or recognise, that of being the individual, the citizen or the inhabitant, and seeking connection with the city, with that larger Ecosystem City®, Laing formulates precise:

“Imagine standing by a window at night, on the sixth or seventeenth or forty-third floor of a building. The city reveals itself as a set of cells, a hundred thousand windows, some darkened and some flooded with green or white or golden light. Inside, strangers swim to and fro, attending to the business of their private hours. You can see them, but you can’t reach them, and so this commonplace urban phenomenon, available in any city of the world on any night, conveys to even the most social a tremor of loneliness, its uneasy combination of separation and exposure.”

Humane, provocative and moving, The Lonely City is a celebration of a strange and lovely state, adrift from the larger continent of human experience, but intrinsic to the very act of being alive. Read more at Canongate Books.


Laing, Olivia (2016) The Lonely City: Adventures in the heart of being alone. Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd.

Rise of the DEO: Leadership by design

Cover picture Rise of the DEO.

This book puts leadership in the context, recognized within public governance challenges. The DEO – Design Executive Officer – as described by Giudice and Ireland has many connections with that of mayors, aldermen and city managers who constantly act on the edge of design and dynamics. Design can be considered as a core competence. This book is in this context a complete breath of fresh air and brings recognisable new perspectives on leadership. Public leaders could be inspired by this book.

“This book identifies and explores the qualities of a new breed of leaders. The book lays out–graphically and through example–how DEO’s run their companies and why this approach makes sense today. We help readers identify skills in themselves and their colleagues, and we guide them in using these skills to build, revive, or reinvent the next generation of great companies and organizations. Leaders who understand the transformative power of design and embrace its traits and tenets can command in times of change. We call these leaders DEO’s and they are our new heroes.”


Giudice and Ireland bring forward six characteristics of a DEO, which are brought forward many times in books of leadership but in this book placed in a new surprising context. DEO’s are:

  • Change agents: not troubled by change.
  • Socially Intelligent: high social intelligence.
  • System thinkers: systems thinkers who understand the interconnectedness of their world.
  • Intuitive: highly intuitive, either by nature or through experience.
  • Risk takers: embrace risk as an inherent part of life and a key ingredient of creativity.
  • GSD: “gets shit done.” (i.e. they make things happen).

“Businesses and governments have discovered the power of a creative mind to effect change and produce value. Experts note that CEO’s who possess a design sensibility—or trust others who do—are best suited to thrive in a changing world. Yet not until Rise of the DEO has anyone captured the true potential of a design-oriented thinker at the highest level of an organization. Maria Giudice and Christopher Ireland have written a seminal work that will transform the role of the designer and the pace of innovation. This book is a must read.”


Listen to an interview with Maria Giudice by Debbie Millman. For more information, please visit


Giudice, M. and C. Ireland (2013) Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design (Voices That Matter).

System World and Living World

Kruf, J.P. (2018) System world and Living world separated [Fine art print]. Breda: Governance Connect.

The system world and the living world can be integrated in an optimal coherent situation. Individuals, organisations and natural ecosystems live in harmony with their governing systems vice versa. Or they can be completely separated. No interaction, no connection, no coherent situation. Individuals, organisations and natural ecosystems live separated from their governing systems. The so called system world does not address the needs and wills in the living world.

The system world is the world of election, governance, rules and regulation, taxes, performance, services. It is a relevant component (on the highest level) of the City Ecosystem and therefore part of the City Codex. The chosen colour is Pantone® Jet Black, because of the association with the mineraloid Jet, which has an organic origin, being derived from decayingwood under extreme pressure. So the colour has it roots in the living world but because of its structure is now symbolising the system world.

The living world is the world of daily life, work and love. The world of personal and public values and lifestyles. The chosen colour Pantone® Snow White symbolises the virginity, dynamics, creativity, self expression, consciousness in the living world. What is stronger than seeing one’s own footprints in the purity of the driven snow. Proof of life in its simplest form.

Going Green

Kruf, J.P. (2019) Going Green [Fine art print]. Breda: Governance Connect.

For those who just made the turn to ‘going green’. Ready, set, go with our new mascot: Eqoui. It is inspired by the pawn, the lowest and at the same time the most honourable ranked piece on the chessboard, at least in my personal view. My father taught me: “We are all equal, but sometimes do have different responsibilities. Equal we are.” My mother added to that: “You are not more than any other.” So here I am, Equoi, the pawn that is going green.

Pantone Color of the Year 2017 – a symbolic color selection, a color snapshot of what The Pantone Color Institute sees taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude – is Pantone® Greenery 15-0343. It underlines our chosen green path :

“A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings. Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate. Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world. A life-affirming shade, Greenery is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.”



Composition VIII: De expressiekracht van Wasilly Kandinsky

Wasilly Kandinsky

Het publieke domein kan worden beschouwd als het stedelijk canvas dat plaats biedt aan een samenspel van burgers, bedrijven, maatschappelijke organisaties, overheden en de omringende omgeving. Of ook als de dynamiek van rijk geschakeerde beelden en geluiden. 

De dynamiek van het publieke domein zou in ‘Composition VIII’ door Wassily Kandinsky in 1923 tot leven kunnen zijn gebracht. Hij was er in zijn wezen op gericht een abstracte taal te ontwikkelen die sterke emoties kon oproepen net zoals de muziek dat kon doen: “Form itself, even if completely abstract … has its own inner sound,” schreef hij.

Kandinsky was op zoek naar een universele harmonieleer in de visuele kunsten, dat aan de basis van elk werk zou moeten liggen. Een haast mystiek geloof dat werd versterkt door overtuigende innerlijke kracht van de schilder: “Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposely, to cause vibrations in the soul (Vasily Kandinsky, The Effect of Color, 1911). 

Composition VIII (1923) Wassily Kandinsky

City, center of the world

Kruf, J.P. (2003) New York.

Why choose the city as the center of the world as level of ecosystem consideration. Why compare the city with a forest? Why not surf to other levels as neighbourhood, region or even country? Why using city as a metaphor for the public domain and society in the concept of Ecosystem City®? Some considerations.

For most of us the city has an association with personal being. It is tangible, real and existing: you are born, you marry, raise your children and die in a city. Your passport is signed by the mayor of your city. It has the nearest governmental system for all of us and is the closest to the self-identification of people (“Where are you from?”).

From the perspective of the tourist in ourselves, the city is the place to explore new people, cultures, arts and cuisines. The city trip is regarded as the ultimate romantic encounter for couples. For large groups, the city stop is a comfortable and easy way to discover new horizons. Complete industries have discovered and exploited the city from a marketing and business perspective. The city is hot. It is the center of the world.

The city is the place where organisations, interests, roles, relations, factors, processes and cycles actually meet. Interactions are most dynamically in cities. The fabric of society seems to be woven within the boundaries of the city. The term politics has been derived from the Greek: πολιτικά, politiká, meaning “affairs of the cities”. Indeed, the city was the birthplace of public governance, from which it started its long process of evolution and development. And even today the city is regarded as the center of politics. An American politician stated once:

“All politics, after all, is local”. 

TIP O’NEILL (1994) 

I think he as the point. It is this entity wherein the end, all things meet.


O’Neill, Tip and Gary Hymel (1994) All Politics Is Local: And Other Rules of the Game. Canada: Bob Adams, Inc.

Citizen and City in perspective

104 Tokyo, ©Floriane de Lassée (2008). From her book ‘Inside Views‘.

This book Inside Views is noteworthy. It is an art impression and expression at the same time. A superb series of photographs – (with light written) night-scapes – by Floriane de Lassée. What this series makes so special is that she shows us how the personal living world of people seems to be connected and disconnected at the same time with the system world of the larger city. In fact, every photo catches two separate worlds in one single shot. Quite an achievement. Not only that: it is art.

From public governance and city management perspective it is obvious that knowledge of habitats in the city and their layering is crucial in taking the right decisions in city architecture and planning. To connect the individual and personal habitat from the bottom of the ecosystem city with the top, being the larger habitat of the city, is the true challenge for every public leader. It is about the true understanding what city resilience actually is and how it ‘works’. The lockdown related to Coronavirus shows us how relevant this knowledge is, more than ever. It is the constraint to build trust of citizens in city leadership. And is not solitude what actually has to be managed? De Lassée guides us.

In the high insomnia megalopolis, splashed by stunning lights like so many islands of solitude, a heart beats, fragile, human… I do not photograph cities, but an imaginary City that inhabits each megalopolis. It is the product of the Man’s excesses, his genius, his madness. The City exceeds the overflow. She is about to devour us.”


During her time in New York, while studying at the International Center of Photography, New York, Floriane de Lassée began to explore the built environment and to document the cityscape at night. Post-graduation, as her career took off, de Lassée built on this early work, photographing night scenes in New York, Tokyo and Shanghai.

A selection of these photographs was brought together for the artist’s exhibition Night Views; featured at the Arles Photography Festival in 2006. Inside Views, de Lassee’s first monograph comprises 42 of the artist’s most powerful night cityscapes to date, and serves not only as a broader introduction of the work for which she is already known in Europe, but also as a bridge between her earliest work in the series, and the transformations it is currently undergoing.

Floriane de Lassée is an original force in contemporary photography. Inside Views is a stunning monograph.


Lassée, Florianne de (2008) Inside Views. Paso Robles: Nazraeli Press.

Wikipedia, ‘Floriane de Lassée’.ée

Back to the drawing table

Anonymus, Couperin [Oil on canvas]. Château de Versailles. Paris.

Reading the Global Risks Report 2020 of the World Economic Forum last week and quietly listening to all the presentations, I went back to my trusted base, platform, home… the piano, with François Couperin. On this late winter afternoon I imagined that my left hand played the system world and my right the living world. Les ombres errantes is actually as it should be.

With this architectural masterpiece in mind we should go back to the drawing table and redesign how we, the world, manage ourselves to a new harmony, with full respect for all other species and natural ecosystems from which we developed. Mother Earth, our root system.

Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum: ”On the environment, we note with grave concern the consequences of continued environmental degradation, including the record pace of species decline. Respondents to our Global Risks Perception Survey are also sounding the alarm, ranking climate change and related environmental issues as the top five risks in terms of likelihood—the first time in the survey’s history that one category has occupied all five of the top spots.

How can we forget? We can not continue this way! The report has a huge impact on me, that I know. François gives me a moment of relaxation, and by this of inspiration to rethink, to reflect, to re-prepare, to re-energize, to re-create, to re-select, to re-elect and to re-mark. Left and right hand as one, connecting ratio and creativity. Back to the drawing table.

Thorbecke re-invented: organische aanpak als dé weg naar resilience

Johan Rudolph Thorbecke

Het is een interessant fenomeen: de samenwerking tussen de verschillende overheidslagen. Of beter de zoektocht ernaar. En zelfs het op punten ontbreken ervan. Thorbecke was zeer modern in zijn denken. En wellicht nu ook nog als zodanig te beschouwen. Hij ontleende zijn structuur van rijk, provincie en gemeente aan dat van de natuur. Lagen, zoals elk ecosysteem vele lagen heeft en daarbij de basis vormt van de eigen resilience, het vermogen om verstoringen het hoofd te bieden en terug te veren naar het evenwicht.

Heeft Thorbecke destijds niet al het recept uitgevonden en daarmee de basis gelegd voor het snelgroeiende resilience paradigma? Thorbecke was tijdgenoot van de grote systeemdenkers Alexander von Humboldt en Charles Darwin. Hij moet haast door hen geïnspireerd zijn geweest bij het ontwerpen van ‘zijn’ architectuur voor bestuurlijk Nederland. Hij heeft immers kernelementen van ecosystemen overgenomen in zijn onderliggende filosofie. Je zou het ‘Huis van Thorbecke’ ook kunnen beschouwen als een tijdloze visie op het systeem van het openbaar bestuur.

Multi-level governance
Eén van de probleempunten in de samenwerking tussen de overheidslagen – dit is algemeen gedacht – lijkt te zijn dat beleid hoofdzakelijk top-down wordt ontwikkeld en uitgerold naar lagere echelons in het ecosysteem overheid. Er zijn genoeg voorbeelden waarin de effectiviteit van een dergelijke werkwijze gering is te noemen is of soms averechts werkt. Op Europees niveau is enkele jaren geleden in dialoog met Public Risk Management Organisation (PRIMO) en de Europese vereniging van gemeentesecretarissen (UDITE) geconcludeerd dat dit fenomeen van top-down werken een matig tot geringe implementeerbaarheid van beleid liet zien.

Het fenomeen van ‘naar beneden duwen’, zoals een Portugese collega het ooit noemde, van taken in financieel krappe tijden doet zich in bijna alle Europese landen voor. Naar beneden en met minder geld. Het frappante is dat overal in Europa door de politiek bij decentraliseren het argument van lagere uitvoeringskosten als argument wordt aangevoerd. Thorbecke had bedacht dat het verkeer beide richtingen op moest gaan, dus ook bottom-up, omdat elk werkend systeem staat of valt met terugkoppeling. Een essentieel element van elk systeem. Zonder terugkoppeling valt elk systeem om.

Vooral de dialoog moet te allen tijde open blijven tussen de bestuurslagen. Het lijkt beter niet constant elkaar slechts de overtuigingen te schetsen maar oog te hebben voor waar het om gaat en de dialoog te starten. Hiervoor zal de centrale overheid open moeten staan en echt luisteren naar provincies en gemeenten.

Deze verbetering begint volgens Ere-Stadssecretaris van Ieper Jan Breyne in elk geval bij een betere koppeling tussen politiek en burger, lees het kabinet, de decentrale overheden, de samenleving en de burgers:

“Maar politici hebben wel als opdracht om te luisteren naar de medeburger, naar wat hem bezighoudt en drijft en om hieraan te verhelpen, niet via hand-en-spandienst, maar via regels en beschikkingen, die het leven beter maken. Het maakt weinig verschil uit of men nu premier is of lokaal raadslid. De basisregels blijven dezelfde.”

Het organische Huis van Thorbecke
In Nederland hebben we voor de organische samenwerking tussen de verschillende overheden een prachtig bestuurssysteem ontwikkeld. Thorbecke was de man die uiteindelijk het voor elkaar kreeg de nieuwe nationale sturing – overigens in navolging van een brede Europese verandering- te baseren op een organische samenwerking van de diverse overheidslagen. Er wordt vaak gemopperd over het Huis van Thorbecke als een oubollig en gedateerd systeem.

Maar misschien is het toch eens goed in het perspectief van de voorliggende veranderingen, dit systeem op haar intentie nogmaals door onze handen te laten gaan. Het af te stoffen en haar principes opnieuw bloot te leggen. En wellicht om opnieuw te beseffen wat we aan de rijke filosofie van Thorbecke kunnen hebben om onze problemen van nu op te lossen. Professor Auke van der Woud, hoogleraar architectuur en stedenbouwgeschiedenis aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, verwoordt het in zijn boek ‘Een nieuwe wereld’ – in hoofdstuk 9 ‘Systematisch bestuur’, p. 163, we spreken over 1948 – als volgt:

“Thorbecke beschouwde de staat als een levend, logisch functionerend organisme. De besturen van het land, de provincies en gemeenten waren ‘organen van het staatswezen’, ze waren vitale onderdelen van ‘het stelsel van één lichaam’. De natuur zelf liet zien hoe sterk zo’n stelsel was ‘De natuur is niet daarom zo rijk… maar omdat zij een oneindige verscheidenheid van wezens, ieder met eigen kracht, onder eene algemeene wet laat werken’.”

In de jaren daarna deed ook geleidelijk het woord ‘gemeenschap’ zijn intrede. Van der Woud (p. 171, we spreken over 1876):

“Voor hen was de maatschappij geen verzameling van individuen die allemaal hun persoonlijke doelen nastreefden. Ze vonden: ‘dat zij een organisme is, waarvan de deelen en leden met elkander een samenhangend geheel vormen. Zulk een organisme heeft zijn eigen bouw, zijne eigene ontwikkeling, en evenals de anatoom en de fysioloog het menschelijk lichaam onderzoeken, moet ook de beoeftenaar der wetenschap zijn studie wijden aan de anatomie en fysiologie der maatschappij. Aan de waarneming van ziekteverschijnselen zal het haar daarbij niet ontbreken, aldus vindt zij tevens voor de therapie een ruim veld.”

Klare taal. Werk aan de winkel! Ook voor 2016 en verder goed bruikbaar, zo lijkt het. Eigenlijk bij alle voorliggende vraagstukken zoals klimaat, water, cyber, terrorisme, sociaal domein of privacy. Op veel punten zullen we het Huis van Thorbecke ook naar Europa moeten oprekken, maar goed de principes staan.

Met het huidige karakter van schuivende panelen op financiën, beleidsdoelen, informatiehuishouding, bemensing en besturing – zou het weleens kunnen zijn dat de grondslagen van Thorbecke zeer goed toepasbaar blijken. In een organisme of, zoals door Brian Walker van het Stockholm Resilience Institute geduide term, sociaal-ecologisch systeem wordt immers veel gecommuniceerd en afgestemd, alle kanten op, meervoudig complex. Daarin is ook sprake van een echelon aan goed werkende feedback- mechanismen. Dus niet alleen top-down opleggen van besluiten en klakkeloos uitvoeren, maar een systeem van volop schakelen, koppelen en terugkoppelen.

Zo was het bedacht door Johan Rudolph voor zijn huis van rijk, provincie en gemeente. Kunnen we terug naar deze nobele basisprincipes. Of beter vooruit. Thorbecke… reinvented? En met hem op weg naar de door ons zo gewenste resilience van de samenleving met de ecologische principes op zak.

*Het artikel is geschreven door Jack Kruf, voor het eerst gepubliceerd op 29 oktober 2015 en begin 2020 op enkele punten bijgewerkt.

Auke van der Woud (2013), Een nieuwe wereld: het ontstaan van het moderne Nederland. Bert Bakker, Amsterdam.

Burgemeesters beroepen zich op Grondwet

Sterrenhemel van Oranje-Stad met Oud en Nieuw, getekend door de zoon van de heer Pietersma, Sam.

De burgemeesters van Oranje-Stad, de heer Rob Kred Furet én mevrouw Ria Tref-Dutker – het is een duobaan – hebben de Grondwet voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden van 24 augustus 1815 er nog eens op nagelezen. Zij hebben besloten dat er géén vuurwerk mag worden afgestoken in de nacht van Oud en Nieuw 2019/2020.

Er zijn, aldus de persvoorlichter van de gemeente, meerdere artikelen die een dergelijk verbod rechtvaardigen, maar het is vooral de overweging dat het borgen van schone lucht prioriteit heeft. De burgemeesters zijn van mening dat bovendien de gezondheid van de inwoners van Oranje-Stad op de eerste plaats komt en dat milieuvervuiling op grote schaal te allen tijde voorkomen dient te worden. De burgemeesters beroepen zich op met name de volgende artikelen:

Artikel 21 “De zorg van de overheid is gericht op de bewoonbaarheid van het land en de bescherming en verbetering van het leefmilieu.”

Artikel 22, lid 1 “De overheid treft maatregelen ter bevordering van de volksgezondheid.”

De burgemeesters verwachten een goed samenzijn van de bewoners rond middernacht. Hun besluit krijgt bijval van het overgrote deel van de bevolking. Zoals mijnheer Pietersma het verwoordt: “Eindelijk kunnen we weer schoon en veilig de straat op met Oud en Nieuw. Ik verwacht een geweldig samenzijn met veel zang en dans. Zoals het ooit was. Weer ruimte voor echte ontmoeting. Dat is wat ik zeg: krachtig leiderschap van onze burgemeesters. Mijn zoon Sam heeft de sterrenhemel van Oranje-Stad al getekend. Mooi, hè?!”

How to measure the city?

Kruf, J.P. (2018). Measuring the City. Hanoi, Vietnam.

Which methods and techniques are available to measure and diagnose the state of the city as an ecosystem. With all respect for the variety of existing surveys and indexes, commercially driven or non-commercial supported and subsidised, business or governmental oriented, policy or science-driven, it came into mind to start with those used for studying forest ecosystems. Because of the complexity of forests, these methods are relatively advanced, used with cutting-edge technology and in their holistic approach and interconnectivity sophisticated.

Measurement triangle

Assuming that the laws of nature rule everywhere – the opposite has not been scientifically proven – it is, therefore, fair to conclude that these forest methods and techniques are directly applicable in city diagnosis. They might generate new contextual insights or create new perspectives – I expect this to be an understatement.

The simple starting point in forest research is that it all starts with the measurement triangle. In essence, one can measure three characteristics of the components – in our approach the City Components – and continue with advanced (cross) ratios from there:

  • Production: weight, dosage, biomass (literally) and importance, power and influence (figuratively).
  • Population: presence, numbers, quantity, population.
  • Architecture: structures, forms, shapes.

City Canvas (eagle view)

Remote sensing and forests have always been a good marriage, particularly if data collection and analysis is combined with fieldwork. They have inspired many scientists for accuracy and data density. And also in cities is the combination of eagle and street views delivering significant results. The grid is an effective medium to present mathematical results of simple counting and weighting, as well as for advanced pattern matching or factor analysis.

In the Ecosystem City® we use and present the results of the mentioned measurement triangle in grids. More elegantly said the city canvas, in eagle or in the city from above view. We created two additional levels – alliance and governance – to improve overview and insight in involved organisations related to specific public issues. The city canvas (eagle view) has five basic levels, which can be combined in all forms:

  1. Composition/Alliance, 2*2 (schematic> main component, role/niche, interaction, cycle)
  2. Governance, 4*4 (schematic> population/numbers, structure, weight/mass related to governance).
  3. Production, 8*8 in eagle view actual, weight/mass, the ‘chess-board’).
  4. Population, 16*16 upwards in eagle view, actual populations/numbers).
  5. Architecture, actual socionomic transects in eagle and street view.