Six Rules for Effective Forecasting by Paul Saffo

Rule 1: Define a Cone of Uncertainty
A cone of uncertainty delineates the possibilities that extend out from a particular moment or event. The most important factor in mapping a cone is defining its breadth, which is a measure of overall uncertainty. In other words, the forecaster determines what range of events or products the cone should encompass. Drawing the cone is a dynamic process, and what we see here is just one iteration.

Rule 2: Look for the S Curve
Change rarely unfolds in a straight line. The most important developments typically follow the S-curve shape of a power law: Change starts slowly and incrementally, putters along quietly, and then suddenly explodes, eventually tapering off and even dropping back down.

Rule 3: Embrace the Things That Don’t Fit
The novelist William Gibson once observed: “The future’s already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” The leading-edge line of an emerging S curve is like a string hanging down from the future, and the odd event you can’t get out of your mind could be a weak signal of a distant industry-disrupting S curve just starting to gain momentum.

Rule 4: Hold Strong Opinions Weakly
One of the biggest mistakes a forecaster—or a decision maker—can make is to over rely on one piece of seemingly strong information because it happens to reinforce the conclusion he or she has already reached. This lesson was tragically underscored when nine U.S. destroyers ran aground on the shores of central California on the fog-shrouded evening of September 8, 1923.

Rule 5: Look Back Twice as Far as You Look Forward
Marshall McLuhan once observed that too often people steer their way into the future while staring into the rearview mirror because the past is so much more comforting than the present. McLuhan was right, but used properly, our historical rearview mirror is an extraordinarily powerful forecasting tool. The texture of past events can be used to connect the dots of present indicators and thus reliably map the future’s trajectory—provided one looks back far enough.

Rule 6: Know When Not to Make a Forecast
It is a peculiar human quality that we are at once fearful of—and fascinated by—change. It is embedded in our social vocabulary, as we often greet a friend with the simple salutation, “What’s new?” Yet it is a liability for forecasters to have too strong a proclivity to see change, for the simple fact is that even in periods of dramatic, rapid transformation, there are vastly more elements that do not change than new things that emerge.

Even in periods of dramatic, rapid transformation, there are vastly more elements that do not change than new things that emerge.

Read Full Article @ Harvard Business Review

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Cartographies of Disaster

The Japanese earthquake changed our relationship to place, and post-disaster social media changed it again.

“Natural disasters are fundamentally experiences of place: The epicenter was here. It was this many miles from this other place. It affected here and here and here. Place is understood through position and relationship, through contact and distance.

Geography determines terrestrial points of contact. These change, but usually at a rate barely perceptible to the human eye. Politics and language anchor societal points of contact, through alliance, ideological similarity, and shared knowledge. These change more quickly than continents, but stay stable long enough to fill history textbooks. Communication technologies scaffold personal points of contact. These change quickly indeed.”

Cartographies of Disaster

Cognitive Cartography

This selection (texts, images, videos) was shared in the Relational Cartographies class and it doesn’t reflect the long list of books and studies written on the subject.

BrasiliaBrasilia’s Monumental Axis

Brasilia Walking LinesBrasilia’s Monumental Axis with walking paths illustrated

RocinhaSao Paulo, Favela de Paraisopolis, photo Tuca Vieira

Mexico BorderTijuana, Baja California and San Diego, California

AtlantaAtlanta, Giorgia

Hurricane KatrinaHurricane Katrina, 2005

Hurricane SandyHurricane Sandy, 2012

Textbooks:

Environmental Psychology by Paul A. Bell

Environmental Psychology by Robert Gifford

Books:

The Image of the city by Kevin Lynch

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro

Wrestling with Moses by Anthony Flint

Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James C. Scott

Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal

Robert MosesRobert Moses

Jane JacobsJane Jacobs

Links:

Did Robert Moses Ruin New York City?

[Legibility] RibbonFarm: Experiments in Refactored Perception by Venkatesh Rao

The Truth About Photographic Memory

Ten-Year Forecast by Kathi Vian

Videos:

More than Honey (00:14:20)

Automatic Google Car: Self-Driving Car on City Streets

Chimpanzee Memory Test

Stephen Wiltshire draws NYC

Building Maker Tutorial

AiAi being tested by Tetsuro Matsuzawa, a primatologist at Kyoto University. Via

30 Cities From 200 Years Ago…And Where They Are Now

The NYU Stern Urbanization Project is working on a stunning new series of animations, showcasing the expansion of 30 global cities over the last 200 years. The animations, created using information from The Atlas of Urban Expansion, clearly show the extremely rapid expansion in global cities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Particularly striking is the growth in the latter half of the 20th century, in which many cities increased their built-up area by more than 10 times.

This is in keeping with the theory of falling density, which holds that as cities have grown bigger and the world has urbanized, densities have been steadily falling. As a result, cities require more urban land per person, meaning total growth in the city area is much greater than population growth.” Text via NYUStern

Courtesy of Janet Delaney

Restore Mission Lake Project 2005

A project led by artist Ledia Carroll. She wrote:

“On Jan 20 2005 began mixing blue pigment into a white dolomite field chalk and applying it to a piece of the shore of the former lake with a baseball field line chalker. Through a grant I was able to complete drawing the line around the entire lake perimeter. On Oct 22, 2007 I completed a line around the former lake and hosted an alley cat bike race and bbq. Press release information about the events at the bottom of the page. Mission Lake Project was sponsored by SoEx Off-Site, a yearlong series of public art projects investigating diverse strategies for exploring and mapping public space, www.soex.org”

More about the project HERE

HERE 5: Erased Landscape – the making of flat land in central San Francisco

HERE, a project by Glenn Robert Lym Architect AIA/PhD, is a series of video films that look at architecture from the perspective of the San Francisco Bay Area. Most episodes examine Bay Area buildings and landscapes. Some venture to other parts of America and beyond.

This is the story of how a massive erasure of landscape occurred in early San Francisco, motivated by explosive population growth and fueled by an influx of mining and industrial wealth. Without second thought, San Francisco transformed sand dunes, hollows, creeks, marshes and bay waters into the flat lands now known as Market Street, South of Market, the Mission District, South Beach, the Financial District, Union Square and the Tenderloin.

Images and Text via Glenn Robert Lym’s website HERE

Watch “Erased Landscape” HERE