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SINTEZO


ideas
trends
conversations

02 

SINTEZO 
Edition 2 - OUT NOW
July 2022 


Order SINTEZO EDITION 2 
» A briefing on complexity, resilience, interdisciplinarity and ideas.

» A nineteenth century American essayist and advocate of social reforms Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote to a friend asking him to imagine doors and windows without hinges. He meant to suggest that hinges are connections between objects and ideas, and perhaps it is better to let people imagine for themselves what those connections between ideas are. He thought that there is no harm done when people guess a bit and try to work out what is written. He concluded, “we are prone to take too much for granted, which grants us too little’. That Emersonian idea is a little of what we hope to foster with SINTEZO. 

Suppose we apply the Emersonian way of thinking to the ideas of urbanism, urban futures, the role of resilience and emergence. In that case, we are confronted with two things: there are too many ideas to consider synthesising them meaningfully, and yet it is still possible to get a picture of how urbanism can work well when we consider how only a handful of interplay. We glean something.

In this edition SINTEZO explores how some of those ideas may be useful to the way we understand, envisage, and feel about urban spaces. How we may sense a complexity of a city, a town, or any urban form by examining it through a prism of resilience as a commonality.  In more pragmatic terms we look for ways to reinterpret cities, which are visibly subject to perpetual disruption, recovery, and growth cycle. This implicitly means built environment, social life, ecology, technology, and commerce are interdependent. One of those interdependencies is how each of the domains is limited in their capacity to deal with acute and chronic disruptions by their relationships with each other. Resilience in this picture is then a mechanism and not a formula with a clear trajectory despite the often-repeated idea that all recovery has a knowable trajectory. 

Urban environments are complex, and their complexity creates yet to be understood rules of resilience. This edition of SINTEZO explores that not by asking contributors to think about complexity as much as about how they see how to answer some more straightforward questions that explore what is it that we take for granted? Simple in this sense refers to building blocks. What is taken for granted in terms of how we plan cities, how we manage green spaces in urban environments, how we organise our social life, how our commerce works, and how our technology provides fuel for all the above? Contributors come from different professional backgrounds and lived experiences. In this edition, they bring their thought and build a mosaic that may yield new insights in this edition.» 


Caroline Austin and Jelenko Dragisic
Editorial Team
1 July 2022


01 

SINTEZO 
Edition 1
February 2022 

» A briefing on complexity, resilience, interdisciplinarity and ideas.

» Sintezo is intended to be a more defined space for conversation; an attempt to curate a broad conversation that can be informative and evocative. A place where science and art become collaborating, informing forces. The starting point for Sintezo was the realisation of the many barriers that exist between different disciplines, preventing them talking to each other about resilience. Each discipline has its own culture, own vocabulary, own codes of behaviour and so on. Each discipline has its own personality so to speak. Moreover, each discipline tends to self-talk, that is, a kind of talk that does not create new ideas or new solutions as much as it could. The repetitive nature of such conversations prevents the emergence of innovation that is an essential part of solving complex problems. 

Sintezo is a conversation about complexity and how resilience can redescribe it so that we can make better lives, better communities, better workplaces. But most of all Sintezo is an attempt to mobilise conversations that expand beyond a single dogma, single strategy and single way of understanding resilience. What happens afterwards is hopefully a renewed sense of confidence in the face of uncertainty »

Caroline Austin and Jelenko Dragisic
Editorial team

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02 

ABOUT 

»   Is Resilience the Big Idea of our times? Its current buzzword status suggests both an affirmative and negative response in equal measure.  For different reasons entirely. Buzzwords are not always a confirmation of so-called big ideas. The fact is that the idea of resilience has grown slowly over centuries. Although the term itself inspires rich and expanding metaphors, it has survived a lot on its way to the present time without major semantic change. On the contrary, it has become stronger, like an old oak tree. And that is precisely what might make it the next Big Idea.

A question to ponder: could resilience become an ‘even bigger’ idea?  The question is intended to stimulate conversation that has been enduring for centuries. To add to this, here’s another question; will the world become more complex? Complexity is still in its infancy as far as the discipline’s narrative goes when compared to, say, physics or philosophy or medicine, although progress was made even before Stephen Hawking famously declared the 21 Century to be ‘the century of complexity’ back in 2000.

If we assume that complexity is not going anywhere any time soon, then the answer to questions about the future of resilience is that it will become even more important. The relationship between the two is not entirely clear, but it is suggestive of an entangled pair.  When in May 2003, Psychology Today’s Editor at Large, Hara Estroff Marano said that ‘resilience may be an art, the ultimate art of living’ the story didn’t make the news at the time.  Instead, it was eclipsed by the ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech by then President George Bush declaring that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.  Nonetheless the resilience message by Marano has today grown in significance and acquired a degree of political importance along the way.  

SINTEZO is a journey in how ideas evolve, change, appear, disappear, reappear and morph.  SINTEZO is intended to be a more defined space for conversation; an attempt to curate a broad conversation that can be informative and evocative.  A place where science and art become collaborating, informing forces.  The starting point for SINTEZO was the realisation of the many barriers that exist between different disciplines, preventing them from talking to each other about resilience.  Each discipline has its own culture, own vocabulary, own codes of behaviour and so on.  Each discipline has its own personality so to speak.  Moreover, each discipline tends to self-talk, that is, a kind of talk that does not create new ideas or new solutions as much as it could.  The repetitive nature of such conversations prevents the emergence of innovation that is an essential part of solving complex problems. SINTEZO is a conversation about complexity and how resilience can redescribe it so that we can make better lives, better communities, better workplaces.  But most of all SINTEZO is an attempt to mobilise conversations that expand beyond a single dogma, single strategy and single way of understanding resilience.  What happens afterwards is hopefully a renewed sense of confidence in the face of uncertainty.  Come to think of it, that is one definition of resilience»
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