Rebuild en reconstruct

Kruf, J.P. (2016). Rebuild and reconstruct. Bordeaux

Reading the Guardian yesterday, this overview crossed my mind. Preparing for my personal lecture about the lessons of 2020 – to be held on the 18th of December this year under strict constraints of Covid-19 conditions of course – I was taken by the deep and wide diversity of themes, topics and issues. The list is impressive.

Thirty books to help us understand the world in 2020 is a rich, at the same time alarming dish. It can hardly be consumed properly, while keeping hope for our children and grandchildren. The list underlines we are heading for a deep collectively mental, ecological and also constitutional crisis. On the other hand some books give exactly what we need for a start. You almost can sense the search for empowerment of the individual, a renaissance coming true, away from the non-living systems which proof to be non-effective and even destructive.

The list of books is of such a graveness and sincerity that change is expected to come soon. We reach for a boiling point. Rebuild and reconstruct is the way forward. We all need to step into the light and do what we must and can do to improve, protect and innovate.

The picture was taken at an industrial site in Bordeaux, a few years ago. It symbolises the feeling and mood I am in: rebuild and reconstruct.

De mystiek van Venetië

Kruf, J.P. (2004). De mystiek van Venetië.

Weg van het drukke toeristisch pad door Venetië, zocht ik even de rust en de verkoeling van de stad. Ik belandde op een binnenplaatsje aan één van de steegjes in deze mystiek stad. Met alleen het geluid van wat huismussen.

Het was een plek om altijd te blijven, om te genieten van de schoonheid van de gevels en de essentie van de stoep, van de beschutting van de menselijk maat. Ik heb er een half uur gezeten (op een bankje om de hoek) en heb de mystiek van de stad mogen voelen. Stil. Als een mantra, als een loutering.

Re-re-reminder

Kruf,J.P. (2016) Re-re-reminder. Beaune, Frankrijk.

Het bericht, dat David Attenborough in nog geen 5 uur meer dan 3 miljoen volgers binnenhaalt op zijn nieuwe Instagram-account, lijkt veel te zeggen over de gevoelde urgentie om het tij te keren inzake de opwarming van de aarde en het behoud én herstel van biodiversiteit. Nu de daad bij het woord.

Bij dit bericht herinnerde ik mij dit plekje in Beaune, Frankrijk. De gemeente had inmiddels drie maal het verkeersbord eenrichtingsverkeer geplaatst. Toch waagden diverse mensen de richting die zij niet geacht werden te kiezen. Een mooie reminder. Ik hang hem aan de muur. Niet vergeten! Een re-re-reminder. De rijrichting moet dus anders, echt.

The Quietness of the Street

Kruf, J.P. (2018). Quietness Palette. Cadíz.

Every city has its places, where the quietness of the street opens the story. Here you almost can hear the whispering of those who lived here centuries ago and the breath of an empire. This colourful and straight palette is fully packed with information and reminds us of the rich history of one of the oldest cities in Europe, Cadíz. Sherlock knows that this city was and is strictly managed in many ways. You can feel it. It is a form of art, that of city management. A beauty.

New Insights

Kruf, J.P. (2015) New Insights

During and directly after a crisis, one may come with new insights. Change can come from the interior need for a new organisation and maybe a more practical approach. Or it can come from an exterior perspective to have a better view on the outside world. In the old town of Lucca, Italy, we walked along this piece of art.

Anno 2020, after and during the Covid-19, the need for change is obvious, in public, civic and business organisations. This is driven by internal incentives, related to:

• Business continuity (for all products and services to citizen and clients).

• Human resource management (towards a more vital, agile and flexible organisation, new roles or functions are needed).

• Finance (finding new resilience and balance, tax and budget rescheduling, control priorities).

• Information management (secure the new cyber world with home and on distance protocols).

• Procurement (recheck suppliers and contracts in effectivity and continuity).

• Cooperation (the need for co-creation and for new value-driven alliances).

• Strategy and policy (from ‘be better prepared’, ex-post and risk approach towards a more ex-ante, resilience, value and scenario-driven way of thinking and acting).

• Leadership and the C-suite (from delegation and top-down styles to true ownership of value and risk approaches, stewardship and serving styles focused on delivery).

• Interface politics, elected council, governing council and management (from segmentation and fragmentation towards a more holistic approach of matters concerning citizens, groups and social issues).

Lucca has this beautiful house where new insights, reorientation and rebuilding actually meet perfectly. It is a metaphor for resilience management. The house of public governance is expected to follow the owners of this house.

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.

Bibliography

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

My Home in the City

Kruf, J.P. (2019) My Home in the City. London.

Being and feeling at home in my city. My home in the city. The contrast between the borders of city life and that of my personal habitat couldn’t be bigger. The grey London cityscape – in falling evening mode – and the cozy light of my room with a view. Quite a semantic differential.

Siena DNA

Kruf, J.P. (2006) Siena DNA [fine art print]. Breda: Governance Connect.

The striking light in one of the streets of Siena, makes the DNA of this city visible. This palette of grey, beige and taupe colours and the fibers of the wall is a small piece of art in itself. This photo I took in 2006 near Piazza del Campo, in the city center. It has so many details that you almost can read how the city is governed and managed, what its rules and regulations are and even how the urban policy plans guide the city infrastructure. Sherlock Holmes doubtlessly is able to complete the whole story.

This photo tells the story of the holistic principle on which every ecosystem has been built. The street tells the story of the city and its governance. It is an exponent of it. A quote by one of the greatest ecologists John Muir (Gilford, 2006) makes us understand the principle of holism – the idea that the whole of something must be considered in order to understand its different parts (Oxford) – in just one simple sentence:

When we try to pick out anything by itself we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.

JOHN MUIR

Siena is maybe the city where public governance was invented. In fact, it can be considered as the Mecca for city managers, mayors and aldermen. History has been written in the painting in the Town Hall of the City of Siena (at that time it was a republic by the way). It is The Allegory of Good and Bad Government, a series of three fresco panels painted in the Sala Dei Nove by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in 1338/1339. A glimpse of both is visible in this simple and shaded street view.

Lorenzetti, Ambrogio (1338/1339) The Allegory of Good and Bad Government [Fresco). Siena, Sala Dei Nove.

The only way to get to the high level of good government seems to be by coordination, expressed in all forms and tonalities in this beautiful fresco of Lorenzetti, almost 700 years ago. The importance of coordination – Siena was a very well-run city at that time – is explained very clearly in this video by Charles Fried, professor at Harvard Law School, underlining the holistic principles of city governance.

Bibliography

Gilford, Terry (2006) Reconnecting with John Muir. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 216 pp.

Oxford Learners’ Dictionaries, Holism. https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/holism