Although it is said to be vastly popular in architecture circles, my local city library is devoid of a copy, and the local universities, in their infinite wisdom, only give restricted access. So I ordered a copy through Amazon, and am thinking about how to bring a free adaptation to Wikibooks. No wait! Here's an online viewer for it already! Jeez the Internet is great! But once again, in the education sector, here is an example of highly relevant, radical and valuable thinking from the 70s somehow left forgotten these past 40 years.
100 pages into it, I can say I was made for this book. I am a child of the 70s after all. It is a clear and concrete manual for planning and building cities, towns, villages, houses, rooms, gardens, one's self. It is based around a list of 253 patterns we can use in any number of combinations to create spaces with meaning, much in the same way we mix words to create various densities of meaning. Like words we can use these patterns to create towns and buildings of mere pros, or brutal sentences (such as Canberra), or we can create poetry, song, and timelessness such as... well the documentary series currently screening on SBS only springs to mind: Welcome to Lagos.
After the thoroughly engaging introduction, I'm into the first of 3 parts - Towns (the other two are Buildings and Construction). In Towns is a chapter called Network of Learning, and it understandably cites Illich as the most penetrating proposal for an alternative framework for education. The chapter opens with:
In a society which emphasises teaching, children and students--and adults--become passive and unable to think or act for themselves. Creative, active individuals can only grow up in a society which emphasises learning instead of teaching.It seems everywhere I look these days, I see reinforcement for Teaching is Dead, Long Live Learning - I'm thinking to shift the focus of my "PhD" to where it should be.
The chapter goes on to quote Illich, from his article, Education without Schools: How It Can Be Done New York Review of Books 1971.
New educational institutions would break apart this pyramid. Their purpose must be to facilitate access for the learner: to allow him to look into the windows of the control room or the parliament, if he cannot get in the door.Sounds like online, open education, even Gov2au to me... and yet most of these movements almost never refer back to such previous authors and modelists.
Anyway, on to reading this 1170 page text. If not for the failed institutions, then to build myself a house with poetry.