Constraining iCalifornia

I don’t know exactly what a redesigned iCalifornia will look like, but I do know some of the attributes such a design must have:

  1. Comprehensive: addresses all aspects of the problem
  2. Systematic: designed as a set of interlocking systems
  3. Integrative: reconciles diverse, even contradictory viewpoints
  4. Layered: clear division of responsibility between state / regional / local
  5. Modular: network of autonomous yet interdependent entities
  6. Organic: can be implemented one step at a time
  7. Coherent: each step reinforces the  integrity of the overall design
  8. Mechanistic: enables but does not dictate policy
  9. Disruptive: does less than the current system, but better and cheaper
  10. Transparent: users can predict outcomes of modifying the system

Crucially, these are constraints, not features. Adding features makes a design more complicated, but adding constraints actually makes a design simpler.  If you have a sufficiently strong set of constraints, there is a very small space of viable solutions, which makes the design process more akin to discovery than invention.

Of course, if you add one constraint too many, then there is no possible solution…


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