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FW: [CF] "Failure of Imagination"

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  • Simon Baddeley
    .... I should have added that one of the things that makes this and CARFREE CITIES such brilliant vibrant forums is because of the way they intermingle
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2004
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      .... I should have added that one of the things that makes this and CARFREE
      CITIES such brilliant vibrant forums is because of the way they intermingle
      appreciative and instrumental judgements ­ with the latter involving a
      constant stream of reports on innovative policies and urban design solutions
      around the world.

      ------ Forwarded Message
      From: Simon Baddeley <s.j.baddeley@...>
      Reply-To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2004 10:21:16 +0100
      To: Carfree yahoo <CarFree@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: Re: [CF] "Failure of Imagination"

      It was for "failure of imagination" that Hannah Arendt said Eichmann should
      be punished rather than for specific evils committed.

      Imagination is a wonderful but terrifying human gift. In many of us it¹s
      like passing a powerful current through intellectual circuitry that can¹t
      cope. Better to climb beneath a candle flame snuffer and live within its
      cosy confines.

      My mentor on imagination is the late Geoffrey Vickers ­ a civil servant long
      in British government ­ who I listened to in seminar back in the 1970s when
      he was in his 90s. "Even the dogs may eat of the crumbs which fall from the
      rich man¹s table; and in these days, when the rich in knowledge eat such
      specialized food at such separate tables, only the dogs have a chance of a
      balanced diet." [G. Vickers, The Art of Judgment (Chapman & Hall, 1965)
      Harper & Row ed, p 11]

      Vickers speaks of imagination in government as an act of "appreciation".
      Joel Crawford, preceded by the giant Jane Jacobs, and others are ³guilty² of
      appreciating that we need to get cars out of our cities.

      Vickers then defined another category of judgement which he called
      ³instrumental² - a term encompassing the detailed skills and knowledge
      needed to implement the consequences of an appreciative judgement.

      These judgements are inter-dependent. There must still be a diffusion of the
      initial appreciation and that can take decades aided by the offering of
      instrumentally worked out solutions that justify and show the logic of what
      may initially have been received as a highly counterintuitive
      anti-common-sense view of how things could be. Appreciative judgements -
      like Thomas Kuhn's new paradigms (another mentor) - succeed through constant
      contests with common sense as well as having to assail prevailing religious,
      ideological, and scientific assumptions.

      Ironically Vickers examples of historic appreciative judgements was the
      view in UK that we should no longer have the death penalty ­ the other was
      of the arrival, heralded by the Buchanan Report, of ³Traffic in Towns².

      Along with various other classics, I regard Vicker¹s book referenced above
      (there are several others) as a life time companion.


      On 31/7/04 5:32 am, "pinchflats@..." <pinchflats@...> wrote:

      > The 9/11 report concluded that "Failure of Imagination", was reponsible for
      > that horrible day. I think that also sums up our transportation problems of
      > today, and whatever problems we face in the future.

      Problem? Email: CarFree-owners@yahoogroups.com

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