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An exploration of the applicability and usefulness of complexity theory to community development Plecke, Joanna 2000

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AN EXPLORATION OF THE APPLICABILITY AND USEFULNESS OF COMPLEXITY THEORY TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT With Examples from Hornby Island, BC by JOANNA PLECKE Hon. BA, University of Guelph, 1998 A THESIS SUMBIMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS (PLANNING) in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (School of Community and Regional Planning) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 2000 ©Joanna Plecke, 2000 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. The University of Vancouver, Canada Department of DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T Complexity theory studies the workings of complex adaptive systems (CAS). A complex adaptive system can adapt and change in response to information it gathers from its environment. It responds to feedback by changing its actions, and develops new activities, learning capacity and ability to innovate. Complex adaptive systems depend on information flow through linked networks of individuals and groups, such as those present in cities or communities. Hornby Island, a small northern gulf island in British Columbia, Canada, possesses the characteristics of a complex adaptive system and is used to provide examples of how complexity theory can be applied and used by a community. Observations from Hornby Island and the use of SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) have provided insight to the applicability and usefulness of complexity theory in the theoretical and local action contexts of community development. Misunderstandings between the scientific and humanitarian backgrounds of complexity and community development theories represent weaknesses and pose some threats to the field of community development. However, complexity theory also possesses strengths that have the potential to provide community development practitioners and communities with opportunities, such as tools and ideas, to better adapt to change. The following opportunities for learning and action within communities are suggested and expanded upon in this thesis: human led creative adaptation; location of mal-adaptive schemata; education for adaptive schemata; reducing and changing mal-adaptive schemata; guidelines and generalizations; and intangibles and legitimization of actions. This thesis concludes that complexity theory is applicable and useful to community development because it strengthens other theories and concepts related to community development; helps frame what goes on in the community; and locates focuses for change. It also provides new tools and ideas for action, to communities and practitioners, to better deal with change and create resilient communities. TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii TABLE OF CONTENTS Hi LIST OF FIGURES Vif ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS VIM 1.0 CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1 1.1 Why this Thesis? 1 1.2 Overview 2 1.3 Questions and Objectives 3 Research Question 4 Objectives 4 1.4 Methodology 4 2.0 CHAPTER TWO: COMPLEXITY 6 2.1 History of the Science of Complexity 6 2.2 States of a System 6 2.3 Chaos and Planning 8 2.4 Complexity Theory 9 2.5 Characteristics of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) 11 Agent Based 11 Heterogeneous . '.. 12 Levels of Organization .. 12 Reciprocity .' 13 Non-Reducible/ Wholeness 13 Emergence 14 Dynamic 14 Adaptation and Schemata 15 2.6 The Characteristics of CAS at Work: The Complexity Spiral 16 iii 2.7 Forms of Adaptation 17 Feedback or Direct Adaptation 17 Changes in Schema 17 Survival of the Fittest/ Extinction 18 Mai-Adaptive Schemata 18 Creative Adaptation 20 2.8 Complexity Theory Summary ; 22 3.0 C H A P T E R THREE: HORNBY ISLAND THROUGH THE COMPLEXITY LENS ...23 3.1 Overview of Chapter and Data Gathering 23 3.2 Description of Hornby 24 Internal Environment 24 External Environments 28 3.2 Observations from Hornby 28 Observation Criteria 28 Observations 29 3.3 Conclusions for Observations 35 3.4 Hornby Island as a Complex Adaptive System 36 Looking at the Characteristics of C A S on Hornby Island 36 Forms of Adaptation on Hornby Island 38 Human-Directed Forms of Creative Adaptation on Hornby 40 4.0 CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYSIS OF THE USEFULNESS OF COMPLEXITY THEORY TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT 42 4.1 STRENGTHS of Complexity Theory in Relation to Community Development 42 Expanding on Other Theories 42 Building Upon Community Development Concepts 43 4.2 WEAKNESSES of Complexity Theory in Relation to Community Development... 44 Scientific Background of Complexity Theory 44 Difficulties Identifying Mai-Adaptive Schema 44 4.3 OPPORTUNITIES that Complexity Theory Introduces to Community Dev 45 Usefulness in the Theoretical Context 45 Usefulness in the Local Action Context 45 4.4 T H R E A T S that Complexity Theory Introduces to Community Development 49 Determinism or Human Volition? 49 Modeling and Cybernetics 50 4.5 Conclusions 51 iv APPENDIX A: METHODOLOGY AND DATA GATHERING 54 APPENDIX B: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS .....56 REFERENCES CITED 58 REFERENCES CONSULTED 60 v LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1: HORNBY ISLAND AS A COMPLEX ADAPTIVE SYSTEM (CAS) 37 TABLE 2: EXAMPLES OF FORMS OF ADAPTATIONS ON HORNBY ISLAND 39 TABLE 3: CREATIVE ADAPTATION ON HORNBY ISLAND 40 vi LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1: DIFFERENT STATES OF A SYSTEM: A CONTINUUM 8 FIGURE 2: EMERGENCE IN COMPLEX SYSTEMS 10 FIGURE 3: THE COMPLEXITY SPIRAL 16 FIGURE 4: MAP OF HORNBY ISLAND ; 24 vii A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S This thesis would not have been possible without the help and support of many people. There are too many people to mention by name, but the following two require special thanks, for without them this thesis would have never come into existence. I would especially like to thank the Hornby Island Community for their welcome, enthusiasm, and time. Many people took the time out of their busy schedules to talk to me, in interviews and otherwise, show me around, and invite me to meetings and events. Their assistance and support are sincerely appreciated. I would also like to thank Barbara Montgomery, who's friendship, ideas, input and editing skills helped me get this thesis written and got me through some rough times. r. To everyone else who helped and was involved, I express my gratitude. Joanna Plecke, October 2000 viii 1.0 Chapter One: Introduction 1.1 Why this Thesis? In the early spring of 1999, I found out about an architecture class that was to take place on Hornby Island in May. This class was to work with the Hornby Island Elder Housing Society on building a small affordable house for seniors. I had no idea that that class would be the catalyst that led me to the writing of this thesis. For three weeks in May and June 1999, I and 11 other students built a 450 square foot house, and slowly found out about the unique community of Hornby Island. This small island intrigued me. Only about 30.1 km2, lying near Courtenay/Comox and three ferry rides away from Vancouver this place was like none I've ever experienced. After a • month there I felt more at home then one year in Vancouver. There was so much of that ambiguous 'community spirit' that planners always talk about. People knew each other, they talked, and they made things happen. With a permanent winter population of only about 900 and a summer population of close to 10,000 on a summer long weekend, Hornby has a lot going on. It has approximately 83 community groups and much cooperation, ingenuity, and spirit. There is the co-op store, the recycling depot and free store; numerous arts, theater, and artisan organizations; many interest groups; as well as social, environmental and economic community groups of various sorts. I knew that I wanted to learn more about Hornby Island and decided that it would be interesting and possibly beneficial to share any information about this community with others in the form of a thesis. As I started brainstorming about Hornby I kept using the word 'complex' when describing it to my supervisor. He kept at me to define 'complex'. When I started to research "complex community" I came across complexity theory. After reading about complexity theory I thought that there was much potential for planning and community development to learn from the theory. So, here I am today trying to find out if complexity theory can be applied and used in the community development context. This thesis is intended for communities, planners (both non-professionals and professionals) and to inform the planning field in general. I explore a 1 different way of looking at communities: through the complexity theory lens. By exploring complexity theory's potential for enriching community development, through 1) enhancing the capacity of the community development field to identify and build on present and future community strengths and opportunities, and 2) by providing ways to proactively deal with (overcome or adapt) internal weakness and external threats, I hope to help professionals and communities find creative and flexible solutions to changes caused by local, regional and global shifts. 1.2 Overview Complexity theory is the study of complex adaptive systems. Basically, complexity theory is a way of thinking about the collective behaviour of many basic, but interacting units. According to complexity theory, internal and external environments (the conditions within the system, and those outside the system) influence a complex adaptive system to bring itself to "the edge of chaos" through constant feedback and adaptation. A system at the edge of chaos has the highest opportunity for change. This constant state of change allows for the optimization of information processing and performance through modification. Community development is also concerned with modification and change. It has people, the basic units of a community, at the root of this change. Community development has a long history; especially in the informal setting. Grassroots community development, meaning community response, betterment and change that has been totally organized by the local people, has existed throughout history. Groups of people, like those who in the past organized and took part in building bees to construct a community hall, would probably not have defined themselves as community development workers or even used the term. Community development as a term or 'profession' did not come into existence until after World War II (UN 1955, in Cook 1994). Campfens (1997) summarizes the grassroots community development and the newer 'professional' areas of community development in the following quote: "From a humanitarian perspective, it may be seen as a search for community, mutual aid, social support, and human liberation in an 2 alienating, oppressive, competitive and individualistic society. In a more pragmatic institutional sense, it may be viewed as a means for mobilizing communities to join state or institutional initiatives that are aimed at alleviating poverty, solving social problems, strengthening families, fostering democracy, and achieving modernization and socio-economic development", (p.25) In theory, community development is a process that is both reactive and proactive to problems and concerns of a local community. It can be defined as "a group of people in a locality initiating a social action process (i.e. planned intervention) to change their economic, social and cultural and/or environmental situation" (Christenson and Robinson 1989, 14). Community development, in the normative sense, is synonymous with planned improvement, social transformation, and change. Community in the context of this thesis refers to groups or populations of people occupying an area with particular geographical or political boundaries (i.e. neighbourhoods, towns, cities, and regions). Communities of interest (i.e. clubs or religious organizations) and communities of shared identity or similarities (i.e. the Italian-Canadian community or the scientific community) are also addresses in this thesis, insofar as they are a part of a larger geo-political community where community development takes place. 1.3 Questions and Objectives In this thesis I try to show that a community can be seen as functioning as a complex adaptive system, and explore the applicability of complexity theory to the work of communities and planners. A hypothesis is not tested in this thesis; it is an exploratory work trying to extend the coverage of complexity theory to community development planning. This thesis is a process that explores extending the ideas and theoretical principles of complexity theory to the dynamics within the human community context. I hope that this research will help define hypotheses for future research, provide communities with a new tool to identify and contextualize problems, and provide ideas of how to better adapt to an ever-changing environment. 3 Research Question To what extent is complexity theory applicable and useful in the community development context? Objectives • To describe and clarify complexity theory and the characteristics of complex adaptive systems so that everyone within a community, not just academics and scientists, can understand the concepts. (Chapter 2) • To gain a better idea about the theory's applicability and usefulness by looking at Hornby Island through the complexity theory lens. (Chapter 3) • To show to what extent complexity theory is applicable and useful in the following community development contexts: • Larger Theoretical Context • Local Action Context. (Chapter 4) 1.4 Methodology The research in this thesis is heuristic and exploratory. My original experience on Hornby helped stimulate my search for an investigatory tool to study the island. I hope that the new lens (complexity theory) I found and chose to explore with, will also serve as a heuristic tool, helping stimulate investigations and new ways of dealing with change. My observations of the Hornby Island community and interviews with some of its residents, will be used as a source of ideas for the usefulness of complexity theory in understanding that community and by extension other communities. Originally, the Hornby Island community was chosen as a site of study because of personal interest. I thought that it was a unique place that possessed characteristics that I found appealing in a community: community spirit, cooperation, innovation, social and environmental consciousness and beautiful surroundings. My interest sparked my choice of Hornby, but the size and location of the island turned out to be ideal for the 4 time frame I had to do my study. Hornby's small size and geographical boundaries (the fact that it's an island) made it possible to study (to a certain extent) in a short period of time. This thesis uses all three forms of inquiry: induction, deduction and verification (Glaser and Strauss 1967). The research started as an inductive process for two reasons: 1) I first lived on Hornby Island and from personal experience and observation thought it was a unique community that I would be interested in learning more about; and 2) I knew almost nothing about complexity theory when I started, and I learned about the theory parallel to learning about the Hornby Island community. The inductive process continues when I look to my observations and interviews for clues to where complexity theory could be most helpful. On the other hand, the research is also deductive because the research was theory driven. I wanted to learn more about complexity theory because I thought it might be useful to the community development field. Verification also took place in the course of the research. I chose to support my theoretical applications with empirical data gathered from first hand experience, observation and interviews in the community. Further information on the methods by which data was acquired, are outlined in Chapter Three and Appendixes A and B. 5 2.0 Chapter Two: Complexity The objective of this chapter is to describe and clarify complexity theory and the characteristics of complex adaptive systems. 2.1 History of the Science of Complexity Complexity is a different way of approaching science: it provides a new way of understanding nature and society. In the past, linear methods and reductionism (reducing a system to its smallest parts, then studying those parts) were the most common ways of 'doing' science and research. Recently, there has been an emergence of non-linear science that complements the traditional methods of science. This new 'paradigm' includes such areas as non-linear dynamics, chaos, self-organization, and complexity. Many individuals were working on non-linear forms of mathematics and physics (Coveney and Highfield 1995) early in the century, but complexity as a 'science' did not come together until more recently. The work of llya Prigogine and Edward Lorenz, among others, helped lay the ground work of complexity research and study. Today, the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico does extensive work in the area of complexity, and many other centres for the study of complexity exist worldwide. 2.2 States of a System To better understand complexity theory, I will first explore the concept of systems. 'System', like 'community', can mean many diverse things in different contexts and disciplines, as demonstrated by The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language definition below (1996). In the following section, I am referring to all these definitions of a system. sys- tem noun 1. A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole. 2. A functionally related group of elements, especially: a. The human body regarded as a functional physiological unit. b. An organism as a 6 whole, especially with regard to its vital processes or functions, c. A group of physiologically or anatomically complementary organs or parts: the nervous system; the skeletal system, d. A group of interacting mechanical or electrical components, e. A network of structures and channels, as for communication, travel, or distribution. 3. An organized set of interrelated ideas or principles. 4. A social, economic, or political organizational form. 5. A naturally occurring group of objects or phenomena: the solar system. 6. A set of objects or phenomena grouped together for classification or analysis. 7. A condition of harmonious, orderly interaction. 8. An organized and coordinated method; a procedure. 9. The prevailing social order; the establishment. Used with the: You can't beat the system. A system can be open or closed (Kauffman 1995). In open systems, external factors (or an external environment) influence the system; in closed systems they do not. Systems can also be classified into linear and non-linear systems. Non-linear systems, also called dynamical or complex systems, "permit a vast range of different possible behaviours, from organization to 'chaos', and can account for much of the richness of the world we inhabit" (Coveney and Highfield 1995, 154). Work done with computer modeling by Stephen Wolfram (1986) Stuart Kauffman (1992) and Chris Langton (1992) show that complex (non-linear) systems can produce four types of behaviours: Class I Behaviour: Equilibrium/Entropy Class II Behaviour: Static Groupings/Periodic Oscillation Class III Behaviour: Chaos Class IV Behaviour: Complexity These four classes of behaviours, first founded by Wolfram (1983), have since been applied to biology (Kauffman 1995), planning (Phelan 1995, Innes and Booher 1999), and other fields. Systems exhibiting stable behaviour (Class I or II behaviour) are predictable and reach equilibrium (entropy within a living system) in the form of a static unresponsive state (Class I) or oscillations between fixed states or groupings (Class II). A system that is in a stable state is unlikely to adapt if major changes occur in the environment. An example in a human system would be a one-company resource town. Due to extreme economic specialization, and homogeneity, the town will unlikely be able to find a way to 7 adapt economically if the company closes down. Systems exhibiting chaotic behaviour (Class III behaviour) are totally unpredictable and cannot find productive patterns or stability. Complex behaviour (Class IV behaviour, a combination of Class II and Class III behaviours) is exhibited by systems that are unstable, but not completely Chaotic/unpredictable. They are on the 'edge of chaos'. A complex adaptive system is a system that produces complex (Class IV) and adaptive behaviours. It therefore enables its units (parts) "to maximize the benefits of stability while retaining a capacity to change" (Phalen 1995, 5). Innovation and dramatic shifts in activity patterns can occur in complex adaptive systems. The diagram I have created (Figure 1) summarizes the different system states or behaviours and where they are located in a continuum. Figure 1: Different States of a System: A Continuum The Edge of Chaos / Complexity Total Order Total Chaos Oscillation Between Fixed States 2.3Chaos and Planning In the context of this thesis 'chaos' should not be confused with 'Chaos Theory' or the science or study of chaotic systems, which have different definitions and applications within different disciplines, and are often confused in academic and normative usage. Chaos, in this thesis, is a term "used to describe unpredictable and apparently random behaviour in dynamical systems" (Coveney and Highfield 1995, 425). Chaos, or deterministic chaos, is a simple set of initial conditions (combined with rules or laws) that can produce complex behaviour that is deterministic, yet is irregular and unpredictable (Heylighen 1998). 'Deterministic' when used to describe a behaviour, means that if that system is presented with the exact same initial conditions it will 8 always produce the exact same set of behaviours. There is a sense of causality; meaning that every action has a specific reaction/effect that can be identified. The original conditions are particularly important in a deterministic state such as chaos, because of its sensitivity to initial conditions, called the butterfly effect (Lorenz 1963, in Phelan 1995). This means that even the smallest differences in the initial conditions can be magnified exponentially as the system evolves and result in two extremely different systems. Chaos, in the context of this thesis, is a study of only one of four possible states into which the behaviour of complex systems may be classified. Chaos is not a common state for the system to be in, and has characteristics that make it difficult for it to prove useful in planning and community development (Phalen 1995). Communities are considered to be complex adaptive systems, and since chaos is not a common state for complex systems, it is also uncommon as a state for communities. If chaos was the common state of cities or communities, it would imply that they were deterministic and therefore humans could do nothing to alter the series of cause and effect events that occur in society. This is obviously not true; people are able to learn from and adapt to the environment and are also able to change it. In planning and community development, it is possible to view such things as war, civil disputes, the economy (Merry 1992), and physical city planning (Heap 1997) as having elements of chaos. Unfortunately, the precise initial conditions of these situations cannot be known, so they can not be planned for or predicted beforehand. Also, these periods of chaos (i.e. war or stock market crash) are not permanent states, but are present within periods or relative stability. Societies, regions, cities and communities are complex adaptive systems, not chaotic systems (although it is possible for them to go through periods of chaos) because they are able to find productive patterns, and are able to change in response to new situations, where as chaotic systems are not. 2.4Complexi ty Theory Complexity theory studies self-organizing, adaptive, open systems (influenced by internal and external factors) that have an element of uncertainty and unpredictability. Complexity theory is also called the science of complex adaptive systems (CAS). The focus of this theory is the behaviour of collections of interacting units that possess the 9 potential to evolve in time. Interactions between the units "lead to coherent collective phenomena, so-called emergent properties that can be described only at higher levels then those of the individual units" (Coveney and Highfield 1995, 7). In other words, the whole is more then the sum of its parts. Complexity theory also focuses on abilities of the individual units within a CAS to form schema (patterns or models) (Gell-Mann 1994), and on the emergence of new behaviours. Units within a CAS can separate regularities from randomness within their environment and form schema to identify and label the regularities. They then use this scheme for prediction and when acting in, or reacting to, situations. In complex adaptive systems, local interactions between units (based on their schema) produce emergent system (macro or global level) properties, behaviours and structures (Lewin 1992). Through feedback, these emergent properties influence the behaviour of the units, who adapt their behavior to the newly created and ever changing environment (Lewin 1992) (see Figure 2). Figure 2: Emergence in Complex Systems Source: (Lewin 1992, 13) Local Interaction 10 To better understand these concepts of complexity theory I will provide the following hypothetical example. A government wants to build a nuclear power plant in a certain community. The people in that community have formed a schema based on their knowledge of past experiences in other communities (pattern recognition), that nuclear power plants are dangerous and a threat to health. They predict (using their schema) that if the nuclear plant gets built, their health and safety will be at risk. A number of individuals (units) in the community (the complex adaptive system) then meet and by putting their heads together (local interaction) decide to lobby and protest (produce emergent behaviour), and stop the construction of a nuclear power plant. The community with its 'newly found' ability to lobby and protest (emergent behaviours) realizes its strength and decides to lobby the government to only use renewable resources, like wind or solar energy, to provide power in their community (feedback, emergent properties of system influencing the system). Emergence (through feedback and adaptation) results in increasing competence of the system as a whole. The overall outcomes of complex adaptive systems are greater adaptability and higher levels of resilience in the newly created situation and environment. In the following section, the characteristics of complex adaptive systems will be described in further detail. 2.5Characteristics of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) The following compilation of characteristics comes from the works of John Holland (1992), Murray Gell-Mann (1994), Stuart Kauffman (1995), plus the two works written by Roger Lewin (1992) and M. Mitchell Waldrop (1992) about the Santa Fe Institute and the ongoing work in CAS that takes place there. Agent Based CAS are made up of many individual units (i.e. agents), which are interacting. In the context of this thesis, the agents will be individual people within a community (the CAS). There are continuous, non-linear interactions between the units; these actions and reactions to what others are doing produce emergent behaviours that are products of the interactions. These emergent behaviours give the CAS its characteristics. It is the 11 CAS theory's focus on agents rather than the system that differentiates it from general systems theory, which focuses on the predefined relationships between components (agents) (Kohler 1995). Heterogeneous Agents, such as individual people, differ in characteristics. Units have individual attributes; they are not considered self-similar such as in general systems theory (Kohler 1995). Due to the fact that the units are numerous and different, an infinite number of choices for interaction exist, none of which are exactly alike. The infinite number of different interactions that are possible is what makes the behaviour of individual units and of complex adaptive systems impossible to predict, but it is essential to a heterogeneous response (an adaptation). Therefore, the possibility for the selective response comes from the infinite heterogeneous options that are available to the system. Levels of Organization Units organize themselves into groups or sub-systems, each level serving as building blocks for the next level (Holland in Waldrop, 1992). Thus an agent is part of a nested hierarchy of organizational levels, which are imbedded within each other. In a community context, an individual can belong to the environmental sub-committee, which is part of the larger environmental committee, which is part of the local government, which is part of the community. This individual can simultaneously belong to countless other groups that are also a part of the nested hierarchy of a community. This example gives us an insight to why there are many definitions of community, those at the lower levels (individual interest groups) and those at the higher level (the CAS). It is important to remember that what any CAS has a hierarchy of sub-levels nested within it, and also is itself a sub-level in a grander hierarchy. Like a person is made up of molecules, cells, tissues, organs, etc., which are all sub-levels of a nested hierarchy of the individual. That individual is also a member of higher order groups like a family, community, ecological system, country, and eco-sphere, which are in themselves parts of a nested hierarchy. 12 This self-organization of agents into a nested hierarchy of groups/levels is spontaneous, such as when genes organize to form cells and cells organize themselves to form organs, to form the.CAS of a human body. Usually the organizational levels are rather structured, have specific schemata and behaviours, and these influence how the underlying system evolves over time. A city (the physical aspect of the city) for example, will have zoning by-laws and codes that regulate how the physical infrastructure is built and organized. Reciprocity CAS are open systems (Goerner 1991 in Merry 1995), that exchange energy and information within themselves, and between themselves and other systems. There is also mutual reciprocity between levels of organization within the system; the lower sub-levels influence higher order levels and visa versa. For example, individuals (sub-level of a city system) influence how the physical environment is built, and the built environment influences how the individuals act. Because of the embedded organizational nature of CAS, all the sub-levels are open systems that are in a reciprocal relationship with other levels of the system. It is therefore impossible to talk about a system by only describing its smaller parts and not discussing the system as an interacting whole. Non-Reducible/Wholeness The whole is more then the sum of its parts. A GAS can not be known from an examination of the individual agents (components) of a system. The whole has characteristics that are different to those of its parts. For example, a cake is something 'more' or different then its ingredients of flour, sugar, eggs and butter. It is impossible to describe a cake (i.e. its taste, texture and smell) by only discussing its ingredients, because it is how the ingredients interact that makes the cake a cake (more then the sum of its components). The same is true for a community. It is impossible to describe a community by just discussing the individuals. The unique characteristics of a community are not formed by the characteristics of the individuals that comprise it, but by the interactions that occur between them. The fact that all the individuals interact with each other is what makes the community a community (gives it its unique characteristics) and not just a bunch of people living in the same area. In CAS, unique 13 higher order system behaviours and characteristics emerge from lower level interactions between agents. Emergence Emergence of new behaviours and higher order systems occurs from the bottom up (see Figure 2). Interaction between collections of agents at lower levels leads to self-organization, more complex CAS, and production of new behaviours at higher levels. For example, a group of people who have gathered to put out a fire in a small community at first all try to get water from a creek and dump it on the fire without success. By interacting (not acting individually, but cooperating) they form a bucket brigade (self-organize). The emergent behaviour of the new higher order system (the bucket brigade) is the passing buckets of water to each other from the creek to the fire, and putting out the fire. Competition and cooperation between different CAS can result in the emergence of new behaviours and in increased complexity. Usually, competing agents (or CAS acting as agents) choose to cooperate when faced with a common threat. An example is the 13 colonies of North America joining to form the United States (Gell-Mann 1994). The threat in this case was the British Empire who wanted control over its colonies. Realizing that together they could challenge England, the colonies chose to cooperate and created a new CAS (USA), more complexity, and as a result new national/cultural behaviours emerged that are based on the American constitution (schema). Dynamic CAS are systems that are never in the equilibrium state, but in the area between order and disorder, referred to as the 'edge of chaos' (Lewin 1992). CAS and the characteristics of individuals (agents) change over time, as people adapt to the environment, learn from experiences, and evolve. Holland (1992) has labeled this constant change, 'perpetual novelty'. He explains how individuals and/or CAS can never reach an "optimum" or "equilibrium" state, "the most they can do is to change and improve themselves relative to what the other agents are doing" (Holland 1992,147). Perpetual novelty however does not mean that people (agents) remain in a constant state of ignorance or 'dumbness'. On the contrary, people learn form past experiences 14 (their own and those of others), form and revise rules or schemata that help them make decisions and perform actions in changing internal and external environments. This modification and evolution is a result of several mechanisms. Adaptation and Schemata Humans are especially good at finding regularities in a data stream, and at pattern recognition. People (agents) in a complex adaptive system acquire information about their environment and group it into schema, or models, which they then use in making decisions (Gell-Mann 1994). These patterns or models can be rules or norms that help the individual function and make sense of their environment (Kohler 1995). Regularities or schema are not based on complete assessment and description of the data (in the environment or situation), but on the available information about the data (Gell-Mann 1994). Schemata are not static but change as an agent or individual learns from its experiences. When an individual is faced with and/or reacts to a problem or an unknown, feedback takes place. Feedback is simply the return of information about the result of a process or activity; in other words an evaluative response. After the feedback is processed adaptation can take place through the refinement of a schema or behavioural response. There are three forms of adaptation that operate at different time scales and require the use or alteration of the individuals' schemata (Gell-Mann 1994). These will be further discussed in the next section. Learning'and adaptation that takes place in a complex adaptive system is similar to social leaning theory advocated by Bandura (1971). According to the theory, human behavior is explained in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences. It emphasizes the importance of observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. Similarly, agents can sense both internal and external environments and anticipate (think ahead) or 'make predictions' based on their schemata. In other words, people use the learned information from past experiences (their schema) to anticipate certain behaviour and act on their predictions. Continuing with my previous example of the 15 community faced with a fire, the community having successfully put out the fire with a bucket brigade now anticipates the next external threat of fire and prepares internally (based on their schema) by organizing a fire department. This anticipation based on internal and external environments and learning from the past shows that the complex system is self aware and uses human agency in decision making. 2.6 The Characteristics of CAS at Work: The Complexity Spiral Complex adaptive systems are in a feedback loop. They use the output (emergent behaviour) as input to adapt to the newly created environment and increase the complexity of the system. In the following diagram I have summarized the previous sections to show how CAS adapt, learn and adjust themselves, building on new information from the environment. Figure 3: The Complexity Spiral Challenge to the Balance in Either the Internal or External Environment Consultation of Existing Schemata or Schema Formation Anticipation and Prediction using Schemata Action/Emergent Behaviour Reflection, Learning, and Schemata Refinement Feedback from the Environment 16 2.7 Forms of Adaptation Feedback or Direct Adaptation The first kind of adaptations are often the result of feedback people receive as a result of a challenge from the internal or external environments, their activities, or a reaction to something. This is the most direct form of adaptation. There is a challenge to the agent's integrity (internal environment is put out of 'order'), they process the information and review the situation using their scheme, then act within their capacity to put it back to order. An individual or community does not require an alteration of their dominant schema, but uses one that already exists to act. For example, an accidental forest fire occurrs in a small community located in a valley (an external threat to the internal environment of the system). The schema of the community members tells them that their homes and possibly their lives are in danger, therefore 'put out fire as quickly as possible with local resources'. Being aware that no local fire department exists (ability to sense internal environment), they try to put out the fire the best they could with the available water from a nearby stream, and dig ditches near their homes to stop the fire from spreading. Once the fire is out the previous 'order' of the community is restored, or in other words the community goes back to 'life as before'. Changes in Schema At the next time scale, adaptation goes beyond a simple response and requires broader change. Usually, the individual or community has to change their dominant schema. I will continue with the previous example of the forest fire. Forest fires start occurring regularly in the summers due increased temperatures that cause extreme draughts. These are a result of micro-climate change in the valley from increased pollution. The last two years the community used their schema 'put out fire with local resources', but because of the size of the fire and the dry conditions, was not able to save the community hall from burning down last year, and three homes the year before last. The community recognizes the reoccurring pattern and realizes that their schema is not working. After a community meeting about the problem, a lot of brainstorming, and a look at what other communities are doing, they decide to organize a fire department that is funded by the community. This includes a paid fire-fighting staff, a volunteer section, purchasing a pump truck and providing fire safety education. The new schema is now 17 'teach people about fire safety to help prevent fires, send for fire department to put out fire if one starts, send for volunteers if reinforcements are needed'. In this form of adaptation, order is restored but it is not the same order as before, it is a new order that serves the same function of 'put out fire' but in a different and more efficient way before (new behaviours have emerged). The community also anticipates the threat of fire and starts proving education about prevention. The new community schema is different then the old, but it also has to address the root of the problem, the climate change, if long term survival of the town is desired. Survival of the Fittest/ Extinction A community or society that fails to cope with events using their existing schemata (which could be mal-adaptive), or fails to create new appropriate schemata, will become extinct. Individuals may survive and form new communities/societies (new complex adaptive systems), but the old schemata and community will no longer exist. To continue the previous example, if fire risk becomes too high due to increasing temperatures in the local micro-climate, many people may move out and the community will disintegrate, or a large fire may burn down the whole community. There is no more 'order', but disorder. The schema 'teach people about fire safety to help prevent fires, send for fire department to put out fire if one starts, send for volunteers if reinforcements are needed' was not adequate, and new schemata was not created. The climate change may have occurred too quickly, or it was not properly addressed (mal-adaptive schema was used). Mai-Adaptive Schemata Societies and communities (CAS) are sometimes subject to selection pressures that have no connection to the fitness (adaptability and survival) of the system. These selection pressures sometimes result in the production of mal-adaptive schemata, which are not adaptable and do not lead to the survival of the system. The following are mechanisms that allow counter-productive schema to persist: 1) external selection pressures; 2) directed evolution; 3) windows of maturation; and 4) time scales. The following is a summary of these concepts that are discussed by Gell-Mann (1995). 18 External selection pressures come from outside the complex adaptive system in which changes are occurring. The adaptation is therefore based on the external selection pressure and not on the most adaptive solution. For example, a mining company may choose a community to locate in. The community may adapt their economy around this mining company, not because it is based on the most adaptive form of economic, social and ecological sustainability and resilience, but because of the outside pressure (political or economic) of the mining company. In the community context, the selection pressures come from outside the community; such things as globalization, a natural disaster, national politics, etc. Directed evolution is evolution that is pushed in a particular direction by humans, and this direction could be mal-adaptive. There are two ways in which directed evolution can occur: the particular decisions or actions made by individuals (acting as selection pressures), and/or selection pressures created by humans, such as the breeding of plants and animals. For example, an individual's decision led the way to breed the seedless orange. This is mal-adaptive because the oranges cannot reproduce. Although it is possible to live with mal-adaptive schema in the human cultural context, in the context of non-directed evolution, such an orange would not survive. In the context of the community fire example, the schema 'teach people about fire safety to help prevent fires, send for fire department to put out fire if one starts, send for volunteers if reinforcements are needed', was mal-adaptive in a longer time frame because the root of the problem (change in micro-climate) was not adequately addressed. Windows of opportunity and plasticity are time frames when schema can be created and changed, but after this time frame is up, it is either very difficult for change to occur or it is impossible. Therefore, if the schema formed in the available time frame is mal-adaptive, it could persist. An example in the city planning context is the decision to plan cities around cars and not people, and building the infrastructure to go with that schema (i.e. freeways, roads, parking). It is now extremely difficult to plan cities that are people centered and pedestrian 19 friendly because car focused infrastructure exists, thus the mal-adaptive car-centered schema persists. Time scales. The passage of time is the most common reason why mal-adaptive schemata continue to exist. Mal-adaptive schema could have once been adaptive, but under different conditions that do not exist today. The environment (often the human-created environment) changes more quickly than evolution can accommodate or than we are ready to accept (we cling to existing schema rather then change it). Technology plays a large part in why we are unable to change and adapt. New technology is being created at great speeds and it has the power to change the ecological environment, our genes, and life span, things that would take long periods of time to occur through natural evolution. Cultural change is therefore one of the only hopes we have of dealing with the consequences of human-created problems. Creative Adaptation Adaptation can be human directed, as mention above. We as humans and members of communities that want to change in particular ways, can do so by taking certain actions. The evolutionist S.J. Gould has suggested that it is possible for us to adapt creatively (evolve, in his words) with the formation and use of, 1) quirky shifts and latent potential, 2) redundancy, and 3) selected flexibility (1996). The following summarizes his definitions of these three forms of adaptation and also provides examples in the community context. The basic principle behind creative adaptation, is the fact that change in circumstance and the environment are the only constants in evolution, therefore in life. If we are to survive as complex organisms living within complex systems, there is need to adapt to constantly changing situations and surroundings. If complex systems have complicated structures with elaborate and inflexible functions, they can not adapt (evolve) to meet inevitable changes. In other words, too much specialization and inflexibility equals limited potential for change and eventual demise of the system. 20 Quirky Shifts and Latent Potential Latent potential is the hidden or undiscovered possibilities of a structure or object. The use of latent potential allows elevation (adaptation) by creating novel behaviours and . uses of something old. These quirky and unpredictable shifts in function can be demonstrated by the use of automobile tire to make sandals at the Nairobi Recycling Market in Kenya (Gould 1996). In cities and communities there also exist examples of quirky shifts and latent potential. Old abandoned factories and warehoused are turned into artist's studio lofts and apartments in the St. Lawrence area in Toronto, and Gastown and Yaletown in Vancouver. In Chemainus, BC, bare walls of buildings are used as canvases for artistic paintings and historical representation that attract tourists and provide a viable economy. Other times, things may not start as functional parts of a structure or system, in other words a non-adaptive by-product, but are later adapted for something useful. There is latent potential in the circular areas of land that are a by-product of highway clover leaves. What can we use this land for in the future? Redundancy There is a need for imperfection and a bit of sloppiness in all systems. If everything in a system has a specific function without any 'extras', or it is optimally created with strict specialization, the system has no ability to change. Systems need to be flexible (adaptable) and this can be accomplished by providing latent potentials, and redundancy. If the system makes or produces more things then are minimally needed, the extras can then be changed to perform new functions, but the other identical things can remain the same to perform the original function. Redundancy in mammals can be observed in multiple limbs, two eyes and ears. A use of this redundancy occurred when the double jaw joints in reptiles evolved into the ear. Thus a functioning jaw remained for articulation, and the extra jaw joint evolved into a hearing ear. In human created environments, there are also noticeable redundancies. When single-family homes are built, usually a spare bedroom is included in the house. This extra 21 • -bedroom is often just used as a spare bedroom, but it can be converted into a room with a different function (i.e. home office, playroom, hobby room, or storage area), while the other bedrooms still can function as sleeping places. Selected Flexibility * This particular creative adaptation focuses on choosing (consciously) the more flexible option of structure or form. For example in human evolution there was selection for slower rates of development; we take longer then any other mammal to reach maturity and adulthood. We use this flexible time during childhood to learn and be socialized; children we are flexible and are less set in our ways then adults. During this time of extended learning we are more adaptable. In communities, community plans and by-laws have a built in flexibility. Usually there is a revision process every five years, so that the community can change goals and regulations to fit their changing needs and situation (Note: Many people feel that five years is too long to wait for revisions, and that the process is too long and cumbersome). 2.8 Complexity Theory Summary In this section, systems, complexity theory and the characteristics of complex adaptive systems were introduced and discussed. The information was further expanded with a discussion on different forms of temporal and creative adaptation and mal-adaptive schema. The concepts and ideas will be applied to Hornby Island in the next section, with real examples from that community. 22 3.0Chapter Three: Hornby Island Through the Complexity Lens In this chapter, I will try to gain a better understanding about complexity theory's applicability and usefulness in community development by looking at Hornby Island through the complexity theory lens. 3.1 Overview of Chapter and Data Gathering In the first half of this chapter, I will give an overview of Hornby Island by describing its internal and external environments, and then I will present my observations from Hornby Island. After this introduction to the Hornby Island community, I will see if the characteristics of CAS (as outlined in the previous chapter) apply to Hornby Island, and if it therefore functions as a complex adaptive system. By providing local examples, I hope to make the characteristics of CAS clearer and show that it can be applied to a real community. The data and examples used in this section were obtained from observations, casual and formal interviews, and participation in various groups done while living on Hornby Island on two different occasions: first for a month in May/June 1999, and then five months in the winter/spring of 2000. Some descriptive information about Hornby and its internal and external environments was also obtained from secondary sources. For more details on the methodology refer back to Chapter One (Section 1.3) and to Appendix A: Methodology and Data Gathering and Appendix B: Interview Questions. 23 Figure 4: Map of Hornby Island Source: Regional District of Comox-Strathcona, 2000. 3.2 Description of Hornby Please refer to Figure 4: Map of Hornby Island, located above. Internal Environment Hornby Island began being formed over 350 million years ago out of volcanic activity that occurred south of the equator near present-day northern Chile (Fletcher 1989). The volcanic ridge of which Hornby is part is called Wrangellia, and includes present day Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Islands, the other Gulf Islands, and parts of Mainland Alaska and British Columbia. Over millions of years Wrangellia travelled north on top of the shifting oceanic plates until it collided with the North American continental 24 plate to form what we know as British Columbia (Fletcher 1989). During its journey north, Hornby underwent countless periods of volcanic activity, erosion, glaciation, submersion under the ocean and surfacing, of building up rock and soil and the crumbling away of layers, which as still occurring today. Hornby's unique creation and journey from another part of the globe differentiates its geology from many parts of the coast and mainland. This has led some people on Hornby to believe that the Island has a special energy that cannot be explained by the academic community. Evidence of people on Hornby Island dates back 8000 years (Fletcher 1989). Petroglyphs and midden piles made by first nations groups are present on the island. The Pentlatch people, a semi-nomadic group belonging to the Coast Salish, used Hornby Island as a summer village and a food-gathering place. Today, the ecology of Hornby is very different from when the First Nations people walked its shores. It consists mostly of second growth forest (the original being logged in the 1940-50's), farms, and beaches. There is a fir forest in Helliwell Park and also a rare stand of garry oaks. Rare wildflower can be found in Helliwell Park and other areas of the island. Eagles, mink, and deer are common on the island, as are many birds and waterfowl. There is also abundant ocean life around Hornby. The spring herring run is large and draws sea lions, seals, eagles, birds and other animal to the area (as well as human fishers). There are numerous streams on the island, but many run dry in the summer months. All of the potable water on the island comes from wells. The water table is low, and there is sulfur gas in some of the water, which gets worse during the dry summers. Water shortages are common in the summer months when the island becomes dry and the population increases (BC MELP, 2000). There is growing concern about water availability and quality. Efforts are being made to improve both. Recently, an area of crown land adjacent to Mount Geoffrey Regional Park was declared a water recharge area and is protected from development. Despite the efforts of some individuals and groups to rise the awareness about water, small lots and even golf courses continue to be developed by individuals on private land. These have put an additional strain on the water supply and also on the land. 25 Solid and liquid wastes are putting excessive stress on Hornby's land. Solid waste disposal on the island reached a critical stage in the 1970's and a recycling depot and free store program were set up. The island now recycles and composts 50% of its garbage, and reuses many household items through the Free Store (Recycling Edition, 1998). Due to the increasing population and the geology of the area, sewage disposal is also a growing problem. Many people have septic fields (outdoor areas used for the underground dispersal of sewage from a house) that are aging and contaminating the water supply, but new permits for septic fields are not always approved due to unstable soils or the close vicinity of a well. Septic tanks and outhouses are also common. There is a constructed wetland demonstration project on Hornby that is trying to provide an alternative way to deal with residential sewage. The island has a winter (permanent) population of approximately 800-900 people, which is a decrease from the 989 quoted in the 1996 Canada Census. This number increases in the summer months to anywhere from 5,000-10,000 people depending on who you ask. These summer tourists come to enjoy Hornby's natural beauty, its two provincial parks and sandy beaches. The demographics, as well as the population, of the island are constantly changing. Currently there are a large number of young seniors and an increasing aging population. There are very few teenagers and a decreasing number of school-aged children. Historically, the original people who settled on the island were farmers, loggers and fishers. In the 1960's and 70's there was an influx of hippies, back-to-the-landers and Vietnam War draft dodgers from the USA. Some of these people now makeup the young senior (i.e. baby-boomer) part of the population on the island. Today, the majority of the people on the island are either retired or self-employed as craftspeople (painters, musicians, potters, sculptors, jewelers, weavers, quilters, etc.), bed and breakfast owners, handy-persons, builders and building trades, architects, recreation providers/rentals, consultants, natural health/healing people, etc. The major employer on the island is the co-op store, and other places of employment include the BC Ferry Corporation, the school and health centre, and pub/restaurant. Many people also find seasonal employment in the cafe and bakery, the outdoor education centre, 26 the different festivals and events that take place and campgrounds and recreational related services. There are a few people that commute weekly or daily to Courtenay/Comox and to Nanaimo. Increasing demand for housing (especially vacation/summer homes) on Hornby, mostly by wealthy retirees and baby boomers, has increased the cost of land and homes. There is a growing concern about affordable housing for permanent residents and seniors on the island. The Hornby Island Elder Housing Society is taking steps to provide affordable housing for island seniors, but others on the island are still in need. In the summer months many renters are left without housing when summer visitors and seasonal residents return to their homes. Despite the problems that exist (many of which are common to all the Gulf Islands), Hornby has a social and cultural environment that is strong and unique. There are many community groups on the island: 83 when last officially counted. The groups are not just problem focused groups (i.e. Elder Housing, Wetland Project), but also social and interest groups that have connections to the community. Wide ranges of people on the island are involved in various groups: youth, teens, artists, seniors, environmentalists, parents, etc. Most groups are easily joined, accepting, and free. Throughout the year, and especially during the summer, Hornby groups organize and put on plays, shows, concerts, festivals, and special events. Not only are the community's history, ecology, and culture multi-layered and unusual, so is its government. Hornby Island is not a municipality, but is governed by overlapping governmental bodies. The local planning body is the Hornby Island Residents and Ratepayers Association (HIRRA), which gets funding from the regional government of Comox-Strathcona. HIRRA is responsible for waste management (the recycling depot), recreation, fire fighting, and the community hall. The island also falls under the regional level government of the Islands Trust, which deals mainly with land-use issues. British Columbia's provincial ministries and corporations also influence planning on Hornby: The Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks is involved with the two provincial parks on the island; The Ministry of Transportation and Highways with roads and subdivision; and the BC Ferry Corporation with ferry services (the only way on or off the island). The 27 Federal Government also has planning impacts by regulating offshore waters. The most recent issue involves having Tribune Bay designated as a no dumping zone (dumping of sewage by pleasure boats), because there is fear of increasing pollution of the beach and water (BC MELP, 2000). External Environments As seen from the Tribune Bay example, the external environment influences Hornby. Policies made at higher levels of government have huge impacts on the people and ecology of Hornby Island. The provincial, Canadian and the global economies also have major impacts of the way of life on the island. Jobs, cost of living and ecological degradation are all linked to the economy outside of Hornby. The societal trends and the culture of the world beyond Hornby Island have a large impact on the people and ecology. Capitalism, individualism, and the values associated with these, all influence the people on Hornby. News, media, 'consumer trends', and city amenities find their way to the island through visitors, new residents and technology. New residents bring with them more and more of the city they wished to leave behind. Technology, first in the form of electricity then television, cable and the Internet, have brought in the external environment. With them come different ideas and values, which may or may not be similar to those of the community of Hornby Island. 3.2Observations from Hornby This section will outline my observations from Hornby Island. First, the observation criteria are discussed, followed by the observations that I have summarized into five categories. Observation Criteria I went into the community with very limited knowledge of complexity theory. I made observations and asked questions based on the thought that the following things were of importance to observe and note: • look at the whole community and not focus on particular individuals or organizations, • interactions between individuals, 28 • the organization of people and groups, • people's thoughts and ideas about their community, and • changes that community has gone through and/or that are occurring presently. Observations Based on the above criteria and other things that I found interesting to note, several different themes and ideas kept appearing in my observations and interviews: People have many casual/informal interactions Throughout my time on Hornby one of the most prominent things I noticed and heard is that people on Hornby Island have many casual and informal interactions with others on the island. Things as basic as chatting, gossiping, hello's and chit-chats in the grocery lineups, at community and interest group meetings, at ferry lineups, and at the Ringside Market. In these ways people find out what is happening in their community, share information or find out who can help with a problem. When I was looking for rides into Vancouver, I would ask my neighbour if she knew of anyone that was going into town, and she would usually reply, "You should ask at the quilting meeting tomorrow", or "I'll ask the girls at Bridge tonight." All seven people interviewed said that informal communication is a part of the way the group communicates and functions. One group informally asked the only hairdresser on the island (that does house calls and cuts many people's hair) about the state of "need" in the community instead of doing surveys that in the past have produced very little useful information. Another women said, "Seeing someone at the co-op saves writing a four page report." She also told another story of how she was once riding her bike and stopped at the community hall, there was a group meeting taking place that she had been unaware of. The people there were just discussing an issue, and she was able to answer some of their questions. This 'chance' stop at the community hall provided direct answers, and saved everyone time that would have been spent on the phone or at another meeting trying to get the answer. Two interviewees told me that their groups rely mostly on informal communication, either by phone, running into people (usually at the co-op), the free-post, or casual get-29 togethers (such as parties or potluck suppers). In one of these groups, informality of communication was a result of difficulties having regular formal meetings due to people's diverse schedules; the other group does not want to 'function' in the formal way, and chooses to communicate and run informally. These informal interactions that I observed and was told about, keep people connected, provided an avenue for socializing, let people know who is doing what, and who would have information or provide help that is needed. These informal interactions are common on Hornby Island and I think it is partly because there are many places to exchange information and to socialize, and many tools to help people do it. Many mediums for communication I have noticed that there are many places and ways for people to communicate and interact. There is the "Ringside Market' which most people just refer to as "the co-op". The area known as "the co-op" actually includes: • The Co-op Store (food, clothing, gifts, gardening, animal feed, hardware), • post-office (and private post boxes), • movie rental, • liquor store, • gas station, • cafe with outdoor seating, • restaurant, • four small stores selling crafts and local goods, • ice cream place, • mountain bike shop and rentals, • public outhouse, • community information bulletin boards, • benches, • and an open grassy area for sitting. It is almost impossible to live on the island and not go to the co-op. I was there every day to check for mail and buy food. Other times I would go to send letters, make photocopies, get coffee, meet people for interviews, check the bulletin boards, or just to hang out. I observed many people who came regularly for coffee in the morning, or to buy a newspaper. Usually there was someone selling tickets to that week's event on the store steps, or handing out information about an upcoming meeting or study. There were almost always someone stopped in front of the co-op (store) doors talking to 30 people they had just ran into, and I often ran into friends while shopping and made plans for the evening. Another place that people can't avoid is the ferry and ferry line-ups. Here is another place where casual social interactions take place. There are people who go from car to car looking for a ride across Denman Island, and if one is found usually a conversation takes place between the driver and hitchhiker. I personally got to know five people on the island that I probably would not have go to know otherwise, from getting a ride from them. They told me numerous things that I was unaware of, such as the 400 acres that was for sale, arid people's fears that it may be bought up for logging. I observed people at the ferry line up getting out of their cars to catch up with friends, or let people know about a meeting. The ferry is a place for information exchange and socializing. Because everyone needs to take the ferry to get off or onto the island, it is a unique place for this community to communicate. The numerous groups on Hornby Island are also places for people to communicate. These groups generally meet at the community hall, New Horizions, Room to Grow, or Joe King Park, but many also meet at members' houses. Community events that take place on weekly bases also take place at these establishments. Events include concerts, plays, recitals, dances, movie nights and special events like the International Women's Day Celebration, and The Earth Day presentation by the school children. I had a chance to attend many of the events. There was always food or snacks provided and often the intermission would be extended because it was hard to convince people who were engaged in conversations to get back to their seats. The time and food provided before, or in the middle of the event, provides an opportunity for people to connect with others. Also, after many events people were asked to help take down chairs or help with clean up and this also turned into a fun event that encouraged people to talk. One of my favorite things that occurs on Hornby are the announcements before the Saturday night movie at the community hall. At this time, new up coming movies are announced by a man who is trying to get an excited crowd to listen to him. People's 31 birthdays are announced and everyone sings "Happy Birthday", also upcoming events for that week can be 'advertised'. There aren't many movie theaters that make me feel so casual and included. I love the interconnectedness I felt with the community just from knowing about someone's birthday. Besides central 'meeting' places, groups and events, there are other several other tools that are available for communication: a community radio station, two community newspapers/letters, community bulletin boards, and the free post. The radio station is a ham radio station that plays music, makes community announcements, and has interview and talks. It not only provides a medium for communication and expression, but also an a catalyst for getting people together. I was told by members of the group that "people who don't get it [can't receive the radio signal] go over to other people's places who do [get it], to listen...". I also experienced the radio station 'at work' as a tool for communication. I ran into a friend walking home and suggested that we should have a campfire and drumming because there was a full moon that night, he called the radio station and an announcement was made. About 10-15 people showed up at the beach that night, many had heard the news on the radio just hours before. There are two community newspapers, The First Edition, which comes out once a month, and The Grapevine, which is weekly and covers Hornby and Denman Islands. Updates from meeting and committees are published, as well at community announcements, upcoming events, and a ride sharing section. The community bulletin boards that are located at the co-op and the community hall, also act as places for information exchange, announcements, and communication. Minutes from Islands Trust meeting are posted on these boards, as are wanted ads, "for sale" signs, ride requests, and services offered. The free post is the final medium for communication that I observed and will expand upon. The free post is a service that operates like a free post office. It is located in the co-op store near the federal post office. It is a place that has alphabetical mail slots and each organization on the island also has a separate box. People can leave you mail or information for free. Most of the people I interviewed said that their group uses the free post as a way to communicate, distribute minutes and exchange information. 32 Personally, I received minutes of meetings I attended through the free post and was able to leave information for people in their organization's boxes. As indicated, there are many mediums for communication and information exchange on the island. The abundance of tools for communication may contribute to the island's large number of community groups, its innovative projects and quick response to events (these subjects will be discusses further on). People share their talents Another observation I made time and time again, is that people on Hornby share their individual talents. They may organize groups, volunteer, sing, perform, give nature walks, advise, consult, teach, cook, etc. For example, several people on the island give nature walks and information sessions on the weekends. Although they do not work in the ecology/biology fields any more, they chose to share their knowledge with others. Another illustration of sharing talents is the use of local people to teach children that are being home schooled. Community members with particular interests or talents (not necessarily academic in nature), are sometimes take on a student for lessons. I experienced many wonderful occasions where the community got together and shared their talents. I will expand on 'Open Mic' night, the International Women's Day Celebration, and the Earth Day Performance. Open mic (microphone) is something that is organized at Joe King Park, usually on a bi-weekly bases. Anyone can come and read poetry, play an instrument, sing, dance, etc. When I attended one of these nights, there was music, several poetry readings (by younger and older members of the community), and even a 'guest' band. I attended the International Women's Day celebration, an event that included many women on the island (men were also invited to attend). All women were invited to read, perform or display their work. Young girls to senior women all took part in an evening of music, dance, poetry, drama, and singing. Similarly, the Earth Day performance by the elementary school children let the younger people on the island share their talents. The sets, costumes and skits were made and written by the students, who danced, acted and performed. May works of art that the children had created was also on display. 33 Sharing their talents with others lets people on Hornby socialize, communicate and entertain. The examples detailed here, are only a few that occurred, and that I attended and witnessed. Acceptance/celebration of differences Hornby Island is made up of people from different backgrounds, lifestyles and families. I observed and was told about numerous examples and instances that Hornby Islanders are accepting of differences and go out of their way to celebrate them. I will share two of these with you, the Hornby Island joke and the story of the 'shrubbies'. First, I would like to state that Hornby Island has many people that have come there to live outside of conventional society. The hippies and back-to-the-landers of the 1960's and 70's opened the door to those seeking alternative lifestyles, unique living and family arrangements and homes. My first exposure to all this was visual. People dress how they want (many sporting the latest Free Store fashions), and choose not to be governed by what is considered 'correct' or 'acceptable' by society. For example, may women choose not to wear bras, and do not have to put up with disapproving looks or sexual stares. Later, I was able to observe unrestrained behaviours, such as going nude at Little Tribune Bay, or signing out loud in public, etc. These behaviours received no reactions from those around, so I take them to be normal and accepted form of expression on the island. Homes are another area where people chose to be different. There are many unique buildings and building materials on the island ranging from modern city homes, to straw-bale homes, to tee-pees. I observed very little anxiety about these differences. Hornby has many forms of living arrangements and families. This is not obvious until you start to, trace some ones family tree or relationship history. I discovered many of these through gossip and general conversations. But, in the beginning I was shocked too hear the following joke told by many different people. Q: What is the definition of Confusion? A: Father's Day on Hornby Island! What shocked me most about it, is that it was found funny and said to be totally accurate by so many people. Generally (but not in all cases) there seems to be an 34 acceptance of blended families, and many exist quite harmoniously on the island. The Community School even offers a workshop on Blended Families. The story of 'the shrubbies' (told to me on three different occasions with varying details) is another example of the acceptance and celebration of differences. The shrubbies were a group of young homeless people who 'invaded' the island one summer. They camped in the forest and became a safety concern (people were scared of fire danger). At a meeting of the Residents and Rate-Payers Association, the community came out to vent about the 'problem' of these children. There was many negative comments and general wish to 'get rid of them', but this did not happen. Someone at the meeting pointed out that these children where no different from many of the residents of the island who came to Hornby to find acceptance and shelter from the outside world. The community eventually decided to help the shrubbies by volunteering to teach them life skills, providing them with homes and jobs, and generally looking out for their well-being. There was an acceptance of a different lifestyle and situation, not rejection and exploitation. People on Hornby Island not only accept differences, but also celebrate them. As I have mentioned before, there are many special interest and open mic nights to share and celebrate talents. This acceptance and celebration of differences by the people of the island may contribute to their ability to be innovative, as innovation is largely based on unique thinking. Innovative Hornby Islanders are very innovative in finding solutions to problems that arise on the island. The recycling depot and free store, constructed wetlands project, Elder Housing, and proposed solar pool/greenhouse, are a few of the innovative projects completed, occurring and proposed on the island. 3.3Conclusions for Observations I have painted a generally positive picture of the Hornby Island community, but I would like to point out that there are problems on the island, just like in most places. Some of the problems that were explicitly pointed out to me were: burn out from too much 35 volunteering, clashes between ideas of the older and younger residents, and the love/hate relationship with tourism and its associated dependencies. The reason way I have not chose to focus on the problems, is because this thesis was not intended to solve them, or provide specific solutions for Hornby Island. The observations made here are meant to be a tool for applying complexity theory to community development. They were not made with the intention of being analyzed, but to provide myself and the readers, with examples, grounding and context for the theory. 3.4Hornby Island as a Complex Adaptive System This section will look at the observations in the previous section, through the complexity lens. Many of my observations on Hornby suggest that Hornby Island is a complex adaptive system. Also, some of the concepts of complexity theory can be used to shed new light on the observations and give it a different perspective. I will try to give examples from my observations (and other sources) for each of the characteristics of CAS. Looking at the Characteristics of CAS on Hornby Island The following chart (Table 1) outlines the basic characteristics of complex adaptive systems as discussed in Chapter 2, and enlightens the Hornby Island perspective with examples (if appropriate). 36 Table 1: Hornby Island as a Complex Adaptive System (CAS) Characteristics of CAS Examples from Hornby Island Agent Based • Hornby is made up of individuals interacting with each other. • For example, the many casual interactions (planned and unplanned) I observed between individuals at: the co-op, group meetings, ferry line-ups, Saturday night movies, etc. Heterogeneous • On Hornby there are differences in people's the ages, sex, social status, tastes, interests, education, life experiences, goals, etc. • In my observations I noted the celebration of individuals' differences by the community. Levels of Organization • Hornby has a nested hierarchy of sub-levels of organization. • For example, the youth summer program is nested within the Recreational Committee, which is nested within the Hornby Island Residents and Rate Payers Association, which is nested within the Hornby Island community. • Some individuals belong to several nested sub-levels of organization, therefore there is overlap in the sub-levels: • For example, almost all of the people I interviewed were involved in more then one group on the island. • Hornby is also a nested sub-system of the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona, the Islands Trust, the Province of British Columbia, Canada, the coastal ecological environment, eco-sphere, universe, etc. Reciprocity • Hornby is an open system influencing and influenced by the environment (ecological, social, political, economic, etc.) both inside and outside the island. • To take an ecological example: The low water table on Hornby influences how many people the island can support, and the people's water use habits influence the water table. Non-Reducible/ Wholeness • You cannot fully describe Hornby Island by discussing individuals, community groups or any of the embedded sub-levels in the community, the unique characteristics of the Hornby community are a product of the interactions of many individual people. • For example, after doing observations on Hornby Island for this thesis, I am still not able to describe Hornby fully. It is impossible to convey the number and variety of interactions that make up Hornby Island, and all would have too be addressed to give an accurate picture. 37 Dynamic • Hornby is different today from what it was a few months ago, a few years ago, and decades ago. It is constantly changing. • Hornby has been changing throughout its history: first is was home to flora and fauna; then it was used seasonally by First Nations people; later utilized by whalers, farmers, loggers; and more recently has been inhabited by hippies, back-to-the-landers, retirees, vacationers, etc. • Hornby also changes seasonally from winter to summer: from a quiet community where people know each other to a crowed tourist destination. • People on Hornby evolve and change in response to a changing community and environment, and from their knowledge of past experiences. • For example in the past sub-division of land into small lots was allowed, but people learned that it was not ecologically sustainable (i.e. too much strain on water resources, etc.) and adapted by changing the sub-division by-laws (restricting creation of small lots). Emergence • New behaviours and higher-level organization emerge from the interaction between residents and higher level sub-groups. • A number of residents interacted and formed the Hornby Island Elder Housing Society. The creation of this group led to the emergence of new behaviours that were no present before its formation: Fundraising, building of seniors' housing, etc. Adaptation and Schemata • Hornby has adapted its environment and behaviours based on their schemata. • The Ringside Market and co-op are adaptations of a commercial area to a 'community centre', and not just a place to make money. This is most likely a result of the community schema, which views commercial areas as places to entwine economic activity with social aspects of community. Forms of Adaptation on Hornby Island The chart below (Table 2) gives Hornby Island examples of the different forms of adaptation discussed in Chapter Two. The 'Extinction' category obviously does not have an example since Hornby Island still exists, but I have posed some questions about the future of its existence. The section on mal-adaptive schemata is also problematic because often it is not known that a schema is mal-adaptive until it is too late (the system goes extinct). I have used an example that could possibly represent mal-adaptive schemata, but does not necessary do so, because Hornby as a CAS is still functioning. 38 Table 2: Examples of Forms of Adaptations on Hornby Island Forms of Adaptation Examples from Hornby Island Feedback or Direct Adaptation Reaction to community member's house burning down • Word of the fire was spread through word of mouth at the co-op, newspapers, and other casual interactions. • The community used an existing schema," Help your friends and neighbours". • Helped the man get the necessities: housing, clothing, household items, etc. • Collect money for him. Changes in Schema Formation of the Recycling Depot and Free Store • Change in the way the community viewed and treated garbage and waste. • Creation of new behaviours and schema. • New Schema: Not all garbage needs to be land filled. • New Behaviours: Composting; creating and running a free store; and sorting garbage into recyclables; non-recyclables, compost and free store items. Survival of the Fittest/ Extinction Hornby Island's Future? • It is possible that in the future Hornby's schema may not be able to adapt to a situation, or the schema they are using presently is mal-adaptive for reason that may or may not be know to the community. In either situation, it is possible that the community will disintegrate and become extinct. • Presently, it is possible to ask several questions to see if extinction is a possibility in the future: • Is the community's schema toward the social/cultural, economic, ecological environment adaptive and sustainable? • Is the community flexible and resilient to deal with predictable and unexpected changes? Mai-Adaptive Schemata Is tourism mal-adaptive? • Possibly the community schema that welcomes tourists is mal-adaptive in the long run. • The external pressures of tourism (i.e. jobs, money into the economy, better amenities, consuming visitors, etc.) may be leading to ecological degradation, economic dependence, etc. • Should tourism be restricted? 39 Human-Directed Forms of Creative Adaptation on Hornby This last chart (Table 3) gives examples of how individuals on the island, and the community itself, have taken adaptation into their own hands and altered their schemata and behaviours in innovative ways to deal with changing situations. My observations of innovation (Section 3.1) provide other examples of creative adaptation. Table 3: Creative Adaptation on Hornby Island Creative Adaptations Examples From Hornby Island Quirky Shifts and Latent Potential • The community of Hornby and people in it find latent potential in many things, and use the old for a new function: • The re-use of the old RCMP trailer (office and holding facility) as a Teen Centre. • Use of scrap metal by artists for sculptures. • Use of old clothing from the Recycling Depot Free Store by the quilting group to make quilts. Redundancy • The community has several pieces of empty crown land that has been provided for community use. • Most of the pieces of land have no plans and just sit empty, and others have the Health Center, New Horizons/Library, and Community Hall built on them. • There is redundancy in the empty pieces of land that have no specific plans, but this allows the community to use them in the future as they are needed for the changing needs of the community. • One piece is being considered for a parking area for the Community Hall. • Another piece is being considered for a community pool. Selected Flexibility • The Elder Housing Society chose a group that uses the design/build method of building, for constructing the seniors' housing units. • This method allows design and building to occur simultaneously, which allows for maximum flexibility. • Work is not done directly from blueprints, but changes can be made during the building process to reflect new knowledge about the surroundings and the needs of the people. • When I worked on one of the units, we changed the location of the windows to better accommodate the kitchen set up. • We played around with the size and location of the front and back decks to allow for equal amounts of sun and shade. • Also the house was constantly being adjusted to fit the needs of a person in a walker. 40 The three tables in this chapter have helped to illustrate that Hornby Island possesses all of the characteristics of a complex adaptive system. By examining the historical and current examples and summarizing personal observations and experiences, it is possible to assert that Hornby Island is functioning as a complex adaptive system. This being established, it is possible to observe other communities to see if they also function as a CAS, or it may be generalized that most communities are CAS. I will now take a closer look at the theory and try to explore of what practical use it can be to community development. 41 4.0Chapter Four: Analysis of the Usefulness of Complexity Theory to Community Development I used the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to assess the usefulness of complexity theory in the community development field. By exploring present internal strengths and weaknesses of complexity theory applied to community development, then by presenting some future, external opportunities and threats that the use of complexity theory introduces to community development, a clearer picture of complexity theory's usefulness to community development theory and practice will be produced. In particular, I outline some local action opportunities for communities that complexity theory has the potential to provide. 4.1 STRENGTHS of Complexity Theory in Relation to Community Development Expanding on Other Theories A strength of complexity theory is that it complements and expands on theories and concepts that are similar to it. Systems Theory, Social Capital and Social Learning Theory, described briefly below, are all social theories and concepts, whereas complexity theory is one that applies to all complex adaptive systems, not just human ones. What distinguishes complexity theory is that it incorporates systems that are both living and non-living and show how they interact. General Systems Theory (GST) General systems theory is a theory that spans many disciplines and has many definitions (Klir 1991, in Heylighen and Joslyn 1992). The theory, as Von Bertalanffy first proposed it in 1968, is similar to complexity theory. It focuses on open systems that can evolve over time, and specifically on " the arrangement of and relations between parts" (Heylighen and Joslyn 1992, 1). Other branches of system theory vary in areas of focus, such as exploring groupings of components and predefined relationships (Kohler 1995), not interactions between heterogeneous agents as in complexity theory. 42 Social Capital Putnam (1993) defines social capital as "features of social organization...that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions" (p. 167). These social organization features are trust, norms and networks between people. Similarly, complexity theory sees the importance of interactions that produce schema and emergent behaviour (trust, norms and networks). Although the concept of social capital is appropriate in the social and economic context that it originates from (Putnam 1993), complexity theory builds upon its socioeconomic focus on trust and associations, and takes a more holistic and dynamic look at the world and its interconnected environments. Social Learning Theory Complexity theory shares some of the basic principles of social learning theory and expands on them. Social learning theory's focus on learning from the behavioucof others and the environment is similar to adaptation in complexity theory. As mentioned in Chapter Two, some parts of social learning theory study the ongoing reciprocal interaction and relationship between a person's subconscious, their observations, actions, and the environment (Bandura 1971). From this relationship people formulate ways of acting and reacting to events. Complexity theory once again exceeds this basic explanation of adaptation and places it in the context of larger systems, such as human communities. Also, social learning theory suggests that only people have the ability to learn and adapt, whereas complexity theory incorporates all living and non-living complex adaptive systems Building Upon Community Development Concepts Another of complexity theory's strengths (when it is applied to community development) is that is uses terms and concepts that are familiar to community development practitioners and theorists. For example, the community development field has already recognized the significance of local actions and bottom-up development. The similarity in terminology and the same degree of importance that both fields put on these concepts can be seen as strengths of complexity theory as a theory useful to community development. Therefore, it may also be easier for complexity theory to gain 43 acceptance as a tool in community development, than for other theories with different terminology and concepts to gain the same acceptance. 4.2WEAKNESSES of Complexity Theory in Relation to Community Development Complexity theory may also have weakness from the community development perspective. The following two internal weaknesses will be further discussed: 1) the scientific background of the theory; and 2) difficulties identifying mal-adaptive schemata. Scientific Background of Complexity Theory There are general areas of mistrust by community development people and the public (see the Threats section for examples) in applying scientific theories to the social arena. Concerns with human volition, determinism, and social control are just some of them. Therefore, there may be reluctance by professionals and communities to try to incorporate complexity theory into community development. There may be questions of how a theory that originated in mathematics and physics can be used for framing society and communities. Also, there is some new terminology that may be unfamiliar, such as schema, emergence, and plasticity that will be looked at suspiciously. Difficulties Identifying Mai-Adaptive Schema Complexity theory's approach to mal-adaptive schemata is a weakness in its applicability to community development. As mentioned earlier, mal-adaptive schema and behaviours, are difficult to identify. Often a community is in the process of disintegration before mal-adaptive schemata are recognized, and there is little at the time of recognition that can stop the community's decline and possibly extinction. The claim that little or nothing can be done to help a community on its way to extinction goes against the heart of community development, therefore in the Opportunities section, a discussion of early identification of mal-adaptive schemata and actions to take will be presented. Also, some of the things that contribute to the persistence of mal-adaptive schema are prevalent in today's society. The most prominent are inappropriate time-scales because 44 the speed of change is greatly accelerated by technology. In these cases of inappropriate time scales, schemata do not have time to evolve and change due to the increased rate that new technologies are introduced. Despite the difficulties of early identification and problems of persistence of mal-adaptive schema, there are theoretical and practical steps that can be taken by communities and the community development field to try to identify and change mal-adaptive schemata within communities. These will be discussed briefly in the Opportunities section. 4.3OPPORTUNITIES that Complexity Theory Introduces to Community Development Usefulness in the Theoretical Context In the larger theoretical context, complexity theory is useful for framing and explaining what goes on in a community. It can be used as a lens to examine a society, a place or a community. As seen in the Hornby Island application in this thesis, complexity theory can be a useful tool for exploring communities. It provides a way to identify many self-determining aspects of a place, not just its description. Plus, it does not see societies, communities and places as isolated islands, but acknowledges the interactions with other systems and environments. In the Strengths section have shown that complexity theory can provide community development with insights that other theories can not. This does not mean that complexity theory should replace existing social and community development theories, but reveals that it is complementary to them. Usefulness in the Local Action Context Once what is happening in a community is framed by complexity theory it can assist planners and communities in locating a focus for change. I review some of the ways that this could be done by planners, community development organizations and communities themselves. 45 Before planners and communities start making changes and directing adaptation, it is important for them to know where they are going, and what they want to change to. The goals and values for a place first have to be discussed and agreed upon by the most representative portion of the whole community (appropriate to the situation). Full participation and consensus is often difficult to achieve, but it is of utmost importance that the goals and values are attained in a way that is representative and inclusive. The goals and values can be as broad as trying to attain social/cultural, economic and ecological sustainability, or they can be more detailed such as those outlined in an Official Community Plan. Human Led Creative Adaptation Human directed adaptation could be used to meet the goals and values of a community. After the community has agreed upon a direction for change, creative forms of adaptation can be initiated to make that change happen. I will now review the three ways that creative adaptation can occur: quirky shifts and latent potential; redundancy; and selective flexibility. • The community could use the resources and infrastructure they already have for other functions, by identifying hidden potential and making creative shifts in function. For example, a community with unemployed forestry workers may use the experience and expertise of their community members to organize a community forest that serves more functions then just supplying trees to cut down. Value-added industries can be promoted, mushroom and salal gathering permitted and recreation trails built. • Redundancy can either be identified and utilized within a community, or it can be planned into a community, so that it can be used when situations change. For example a community that needs a community centre but has no land, can look for redundancies, find that they have three similar parks, and decide to use one as a site for the community centre. Or, if this community is developing plans, it may want to provide for three small parks instead of one large one, so that in the future when .their recreation needs change, one park could be used for a different function, such as a site to build a community centre. 46 • A community can also select flexible solutions to problems or situations, so that it can make changes in the future. If the community described in the previous example wants to built its community centre, it may want to consider constructing a multi-use facility (as opposed to one with just a meeting room and pool). A facility can be built with many adaptable rooms that can be easily altered to serve different needs. A space that can be easily used as community kitchen, instructional room, a catered event facility, and a daycare, will provide flexibility for a changing community. When people want to partake in creative adaptation, they could look for ways to: reuse and recycle within their communities; identify redundancy; look for latent potentials; and think about future flexibility when planning, building and shaping solutions. Location of Mai-Adaptive Schema As mentioned several times in the thesis, locating mal-adaptive schemata and behaviours is difficult. Despite the difficulties already mentioned, there are questions that planners and community members can ask, and places where they can look, to try to identify mal-adaptiveness: • Was the schema/behaviour a result of an external pressure? • Did a person of power, without adaptive intentions (i.e. only with sef-interest), select the schema/behaviour? • When was the schema /behaviour created? Is it appropriate to the current time and place? • Is the schema/behaviour still flexible, or has it lost its flexibility? • Does the schema/behaviour address the root of the problem, or is it only a Band-Aid solution? The answers to these questions relate to the mechanisms that allow mal-adaptive schema and behaviours to survive (these are outlined in Section 2.7 of Chapter Two). By considering these questions, it may be possible to better identify schemata that may not be working for a community. 47 Education for Adaptive Schema Formation Complexity theory tells us that schemata play an important role in how a community adapts and changes. Based on this information, a community may want to guide the formation of schemata through education. Such things as courses, school programs, lectures, reading materials and resources based on community values, could be provided to the community, especially its younger members. These educational tools may help to create schemata that are adaptive and meets the needs of the community. Reducing and Changing Mal-adaptive Schemata in People Where mal-adaptive schemata already exist, reducing and changing peoples' mal-adaptive schemata could be a way for the community to take action. First, the community would need to create a process for the identification of mal-adaptive schemata, then look for ways to reduce it (i.e. provide positive rewards for encouraged behaviour or negative reprimands for mal-adaptive behaviour), and finally develop alternative (and adaptive) schemata to replace the mal-adaptive ones. Guidelines and Generalizations Complexity theory can also be useful for planning and community development by assisting with the creation of guidelines/frameworks for practice. Consideration and local thinking applications of the theory can inspire these guidelines or frameworks. For example, if I were to use my observations of Hornby Island to contribute to 'community development specific' complexity theory, the following guidelines may be produced: • Provide the capacity building and mind-sets (examples, ideas, and/or tools) that will help communities deal with both unexpected and anticipated events. • Focus on communication linkages and interconnections among people by providing: • Opportunities for many social/casual interactions • Many mediums for communication • Opportunities and environments where people can share their talents. • An environment that is accepting and celebrates differences in people. • Question stability, learn from the past, and accept change. 48 The framework of complexity theory may provide useful ideas for guidelines and action. Each community may find it useful to examine the theory for itself and find unique solutions to attain its goals. Intangibles and Legitimization of Actions As illustrated by the examples in the previous sections, complexity theory in the planning context can provide ideas for tangible results such as agreements, solutions, and products. In the community context, complexity theory is useful in helping to analyze intangibles such as: social, intellectual, and political capital; creation of relationships, networks and trust; and educating the community about itself. Complexity theory could be useful in reminding the community about the importance of the interactions of individuals and local organizations in changing behaviours and schemata. The theory may only legitimize what people of the community in many cases already are doing in subconscious ways, such as: interacting, forming groups, producing emergent behaviour, adapting, learning, etc. In this case the usefulness of complexity theory for communities is that it clearly defines what is being done (occurring), so that it can be consciously repeated or altered in the future. Moreover, complexity theory could give direction and provide ideas for local action to communities (and community development professionals that work with them) that need help with adaptation and change. 4.4THREATS that Complexity Theory Introduces to Community Development Determinism or Human Volition? People are sometimes skeptical of the 'new' sciences (chaos and complexity) because they think that these theories and approaches are deterministic. I hope this thesis shows that people's interaction (actions and reactions) are what makes change happen through adaptation, emergence, and learning. It is only because of heterogeneous people acting in unpredictable ways, that complexity in human societies can exist. Due to the fact that people (and everything around them) is constantly adapting to and altering the environment, the future is always unknown and flexible. 49 Modeling and Cybernetics Computer modeling programs and cybernetics are experimented with in some areas of complexity research. There is some skepticism about the use of these to model cities, communities, or societies. People fear that if a community can be modeled and ran on a computer, how is there room for human volition; and also, how can complex communities be modeled in the first place. This fear may stem from the research done in the area of artificial intelligence, where only the most rudimentary of human brain activities are modeled in limited environments, devoid of human volition. Researchers, like John Holland and Christopher Langton at the Santa Fe Institute, create programs that act like complex adaptive systems, but are not based on real places or human environments. By starting with a few simple rules, complex and unpredictable behaviours arise from the programs' interacting agents. These programs are generally used to learn more about complex adaptive systems and how they function. It is actually not possible to model a real place, because the initial conditions/rules are not known and because there is simply too much unpredictable behaviour to possibly know about and synthesize (and behaviours are always changing). Large scale modeling of actual places (a.k.a. comprehensive planning in the form of large-scale systems simulation) was tried in the planning field in the 1960's and 70's for the purposes of long-range planning and was not successful (Lee 1973). Despite the known limitations of modeling and cybernetics, it is still possible to learn from hypothetical models about the functions of complex adaptive systems. This thesis is not suggesting that planners and communities do modeling, or that modeling of real places is possible, it is only stating that modeling in other areas of complexity research exists and is seen as a threat by some. Therefore, the external threat of the implications of modeling and cybernetic can hinder the usefulness of complexity theory in community development, because some community development practitioners and community members may not want to be involved with the perceived threat of modeling or its implications, or believe it is wrong. 50 I personally experienced negative reactions from planners in the course of writing this thesis. Their major concerns were with the implication that cybernetic will have on free will and humanitarian actions. 4.5Conclusions I have described and clarified complexity theory and the characteristics of complex adaptive systems by using community and social examples to illuminate scientific terms and concepts, so that everyone within a community could find ways to understand and relate to them. Observations on Hornby Island followed by a look at the island through the lens of complexity theory provided new insights for the application of complexity theory to community development. The specific Hornby example shows that a community does seem to function as a complex adaptive system and helped form ideas about implications for theory and action in the community and profession. I chose to assess the applicability and usefulness of complexity theory to community development using SWOT analysis. The examination of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have led to the following analysis of complexity theory in the larger theoretical and local action contexts of community development. The strengths of complexity theory seem to be most useful in theoretical context of community development. By expanding on other theories and concepts (i.e. GST, Social Capital, Social Leaning Theory) and building upon existing community development concepts, complexity theory can enrich the theoretical body of knowledge that planners, professional and communities draw on. Because complexity theory compliments many other theories and concepts, and is holistic in its nature, it is a useful tool for framing what goes on in communities, as I found in the case of Hornby Island. Unfortunately, the weaknesses and threats that the use of complexity theory possesses and poses to community development also are most relevant to the theoretical context of community development, and they eventually impact on local actions. The scientific background of complexity theory and the issues around human volition, determinism, cybernetic and modeling, lead back to the major differences in the historical roots of the 51 two theories. The history and activities of complexity theory can be a hindrance to the usefulness of the theory in community development. Issues stemming from ignorance or fear of unknown or misunderstood scientific activities and concepts may prevent complexity theory from being applied and used in the human and social aspects of community development. On the other hand, the opportunities that complexity theory provides in the local action context of community development, introduce communities to new tools for identifying and contextualizing problems, and offer ideas of how to better adapt to an ever-changing environment. These complexity theory-based ideas for observation, analysis and practice are most helpful to me as a new planner because they provide communities with the power and knowledge to recognize and observe their own complexity and their own intrinsic power to alter the course of their history. This more conscious knowledge of being a member of complex adaptive systems, I hope will help communities to act for themselves, and also help me as a planner to help communities find ways to direct change in a way that creates resilience. Personally, I have gained a stronger understanding of human volition and the knowledge that we are part of a system that can alter its behaviours and path of travel in response to a changing environment. I hope that communities can extrapolate this same understanding and knowledge from complexity theory and this thesis, so that their power and confidence to respond to change can grow and aid them in the formation of more resilient communities. The ideas for actions presented in this thesis need to be individualized by the communities and planners into distinct solutions to individual issues. I hope that communities and other planners find complexity theory useful in their lives and work, and helpful in finding solutions specific to the needs of each individual community. At the start of this thesis I set out to answer the question, "To what extent is complexity theory applicable and useful in the community development context?". By summarizing complexity theory and the characteristics of complex adaptive systems, while simultaneously observing Hornby Island, I have learned that complexity theory is indeed 52 applicable to the community development field and can be useful to professionals and community members. 53 Appendix A: Methodology and Data Gathering During my time on Hornby Island, I lived and participated in the everyday life of the community. During my last few months on the island, I felt like I was accepted as a member of the community. I was made to feel like a part of the community in several ways: the cashiers at the co-op (store) knew my co-op number by heart; the people at the post office knew my name and would let me know if I had mail when I came in to the co-op; I would 'run' into people I knew and chat; people who I've met only once or twice would say 'hello'; and most importantly, people would recognize me and stop to offer me a ride when I was walking along the road (I did not have to hitchhike, like in my first few months there). In other words, I became part of the internal environment of the complex adaptive system of Hornby Inland. This acceptance did not come without time and effort. I made a point to get out and get involved, not only to 'be' a part of the community, but to learn at least a tiny bit about how it works and functions. I got involved in the following groups and activities: • The quilting group: I attended three of their weekly meetings, a potluck dinner, the quilting bee, and sewed a quilt square for the community quilt and a quilt made for a man who's house burnt down. • New Horizons Literary Lunches: I attended three literary lunches, where volunteers make and serve an affordable lunch and after a talk occurs. For two of these lunches I baked dessert and helped with the clean up. The other one I attended out of interest. • Seniors' Lunch: I helped with the set-up, cooking, serving, and cleanup at one senior's lunch. These lunches are run by volunteers to help provide inexpensive food for seniors and to provide a time for socializing. • New community projects group: I was able to attend the organizational meeting of a group that is trying to obtain funding for community projects such as a community kitchen and a community pool. In this group I helped with the organization and summarization of people's ideas, resources and goals. • Attended many meetings (community and interest groups), • Attended plays, concerts and community events, 54 • Chatted with people at the co-op, beach, and at the ferry, and • Interviewed 8 people from various community organizations and interest groups. The seven interviews I conducted were with people from seven different active community and interest groups who I thought were knowledgeable about their group and/or the community. The groups were chosen because I felt they were representative of the environmental, social, cultural and economic categories of community development and interest groups on Hornby. Some groups overlapped in categories. The interviewees were chosen based on the knowledge they have about the organization and community, their willingness to participate, or due to my knowledge and/or acquaintance of them (convince). The interview questions are located in Appendix B. The original questions had a different focus (the thesis has shifted and changed its focus several times), but I have included all the questions originally asked. 55 Appendix B: Interview Questions 1. When was this group started? 2. Why was this group started? 3. Who started it? (not names but description of the people) 4. How was the group started? What steps were taken to start the group? What was the process of organization? 5. Who can join your group? Who can participate? Does it cost anything? 6. How many people currently in your group (active vs. inactive)? Could you describe the people in the group? (age, sex, occupation, etc.) 7. How does your group communicate? How often does it meet? Is there any informal communication? 8. What is the group's mandate/objective? What does the group do? (activities, events, etc.) What services (if any) does it provide? 9. Does it serve a unique function on Hornby Island? In the region? 10. What informal needs in the community do you think your group fulfills? (e.g. sense of security, place to share interests and talents, etc.) 11. Is the group involved in or organize community activities or services that are not part of its original mandate? 12. Do you think the group serves a social (socializing) function for members? For the community? 13. How does the group decide what project or problem to focus on? 14. Does your group have a problem-solving framework (a process), such as a series of actions for dealing with community problems and/or concerns? 15. Do you find your group's problem solving framework useful? Why? 56 16. Do you think people and/or organizations outside of Hornby Island are influenced by your group's actions? How? 17. Do you believe that your group's actions make (or can make) significant changes on Hornby Island? In the region? (On a global scale?) 18. Are you involved in any other groups on Hornby? What are they? 19. Why do you think Hornby has so many community groups? 20. How would you define a 'sense of community"? Do you think that Hornby has 'a sense of community'? In which way? 57 REFERENCES CITED American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996. In Microsoft Bookshelf 98 CD ROM, 1998 edition. Bandura, A. Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press, 1971. British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks website: <http://www.gov.bc.ca/elp/>. Christenson, A and Jerry W. Robinson. Eds. Community Development in Perspective, 1st edition. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1989. Campfens, Hubert. Editor. Community Development Around the World: Practice, Theory, Research, Training. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997. Cook, James B. "Community Development Theory." 1994. Available at the University of Missouri, University Extension website: <http://muextension.missouri.edu/xplor/miscpubs/pm0568.htm>. Coveney, Peter and Roger Highfield. Frontiers of Complexity: The Search for Order in a Chaotic World. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995. Fletcher, Olivia. Hammerstone: The Biography of an Island. Hornby Island: Apple Press, 1989. Gell-Mann, Murray. The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1994. Glaser, Barney and Anselm Strauss. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Com., 1967. Gould, Stephen Jay. "Creating the Creators: If creation demands a visionary creator, then how does blind evolution manage to build such splendid things as ourselves?." Discover. Vol.17, No. 10 (October 1996): 43-4, 48+. Heap, Nicholas Ian. The Synoptic and Dynamic Paradigms of City Planning: Re-Interpreting Planning Methods through Newtonian Physics and Chaos Theory. MA (Planning) Thesis. University of British Columbia, 1997. Heylighten, F. "Deterministic Chaos". October 14, 1998. Available at the Principia Cybernetica 2000 website: < http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/CHAOS.html>. Heylighen F. and C. Joslyn. "What is Systems Theory?" Prepared for the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Available at the Principia Cybernetica 2000 website: <http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/SYSTHE0R.html>. 58 Holland, John H. Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems: An Introductory Analysis with Applications to Biology, Control, and Artificial Intelligence. Cambridge: MIT Press/Bradford Books edition, 1992. Innes, Judith E. and David E. Booher. "Consensus Building and Complex Adaptive Systems: A Framework for Evaluating Collaborative Planning." Journal of the American Planning Association. Vol. 65, Issue 4. (Autumn 1999): 412-424. Kauffman, Stuart. Origins of order: Self-organization and selection in evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Kauffman, Stuart. At Home in the Universe: In Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity. New York: Oxford university Press, 1995. Kohler, Tim. "Agent-Based Modeling of Anasazi Village Formation in Northern American Southwest". 1995. Available at the Santa Fe Institute website: <http://www.santafe.edu/projects/swarm/users/Misc/PagesA/illage/Otoc.html>. Langton, C. G., Taylor, C , Farmer, J. D., & Rassmussen, S. (Eds.). Artificial life II. Redwood City, CA: Addison-Wesley, 1992. Lee, Douglass B. Jr. "Requiem for Large-Scale Models." Journal of the American Institute of Planning. Vol. 39, No. 3: 163-178. Lewin, Roger. Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos. Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan Canada, 1992. Merry, Uri. Coping with Uncertainty: Insights from the New Sciences of Chaos, Self-Organization, and Complexity. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1995. Phelan, Steven E. "From Chaos to Complexity in Strategic Planning." Presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management Vancouver, BC, 1995. Available at: <http://www.aom.pace.edu/bps/Papers/chaos.html>. Putnam, Robert D. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993. Regional District of Comox-Strathcona. Planning Department Maps. 2000. Waldrop, M. Mitchell. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the edge of Order and Chaos. Toronto: Simon and Schuster, 1992. Wolfram, S. (Ed.). Theory and applications of cellular automata. Singapore: World Scientific, 1986. 59 REFERENCES CONSULTED Cartwright, T.J. "Planning and Chaos Theory." Journal of the American Planning Association. Vol. 57, No. 1 (Winter 1991): 44-56. Casti, John L Complexification: Explaining a Paradoxical World through the Science of Surprise. New York: Harper Collins, 1994. Cohen, Jack and Ian Stewart. The Collapse of Chaos: Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World. New York: Viking Penguin, 1994. Corrigall, Margery and Vera Arthurs. The History of Hornby Island. Revised edition. 1978. Unpublished. Eve, Raymond A., Sara Horsfall and Mary E. Lee, eds. Chaos, Complexity and Sociology: Myths, Models, and Theories. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1997. Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Viking Penguin Inc., 1987. Gubrium, Jaber F. and James A. Holstein. The New Language of Qualitative Method. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Hwang, Sang H. "The Implications of the Nonlinear Paradigm for Integrated Environmental Design and Planning." Journal of Planning Literature. Vol.11, No. 11, Issue 2 (November 1996): 167-181. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1962. Moffitt, Leonard Caum. Connected Community: Subtle Force in a Systemic Web. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 1996. Palys, Ted. Research Decisions: Qualitative and Quantitative Perspectives. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Canada Inc., 1992. Smith, Elizabeth and David Gerow. Hornby Island: The Ebb and Flow. Campbell River: Ptarmigan Press, 1988. Woollard, Robert et. al. "The Community as Crucible: Blending Health and Sustainability." In Seeking Sustainability in the Lower Fraser Basin: Issues and Choices. Ed. Michael Healey. Vancouver: Institute for Resources and the Environment, Westwater Research, 1999. 263-192. Woollard, Robert and William Rees. "Social Evolution and Urban Systems: Directions for Sustainability," in Communities, Development, and Sustainability Across Canada. Eds. John T. Pierce and Ann Dale. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1999. 60 


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