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By Bent Flybjerg

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What is Phronetic Organization Research?

Phronetic organization research is an approach to the study of organizations based on a contemporary interpretation of the classical Greek concept phrone- sis. Following this approach, phronetic organization researchers study organizations and organizing with an emphasis on values and power. In this paper I will first clarify what phronesis and phronetic orga- nization research is. Second, I will attempt to tease out the methodological implications of this research approach.1

Aristotle is the philosopher of phronesis par excel- lence. In Aristotle’s words phronesis is an intellectual virtue that is ‘reasoned, and capable of action with regard to things that are good or bad for man’ (Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics, hereafter abbrevi- ated as N.E., 1976: 1140a24–b12, 1144b33–1145a11). Phronesis concerns values and goes beyond analyti- cal, scientific knowledge (episteme) and technical knowledge or know how (techne) and it involves judgements and decisions made in the manner of a virtuoso social actor. I will argue that phronesis is commonly involved in practices of organization and, therefore, that any attempts to reduce organi- zation research to episteme or techne or to compre- hend them in those terms are misguided.

Measuring and Improving the Productivity of the U.S. Construction Industry: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities

By Robert E. Chapman and David T. Butry Building and Fire Research Laboratory National Institute of Standards and Technology Gaithersburg.

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Although the construction industry is a major component of the U.S. economy, it has experienced a prolonged period of decline in productivity. Due to the critical lack of measurement methods, however, the magnitude of the productivity problem in the construction industry is largely unknown. To address these deficiencies, efforts are underway that focus on the measurement of construction productivity at three levels: task, project, and industry. This white paper discusses how such measures can be developed, how they are related to the use of information and automation technologies and construction processes over the life of the project, and how to build on several ongoing collaborative efforts aimed at improving the efficiency, competitiveness, and innovation of the construction industry. The paper concludes with a discussion of the role that the summer 2008 National Academies Workshop can play in bringing together key construction industry stakeholders to identify and prioritize activities that have the greatest potential for improving the productivity of the U.S. construction industry over the next 20 years.

By Ryan E. Smith. University of Utah

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Culture of Collaboration

The 21st century architect is being introduced to a shift in the way buildings are designed, built, and maintained that differs from the 20th century model and the early master builder model. Building is becoming increasingly complex at an exponential rate. However , emergent material and digital technologies are suggesting a much more integrated collaborative model that builds upon the individual expertise of key players. Branko Kolarevic in Architecture in the Digital Age suggests that by integrating the process of building design, delivery, and management, the AEC industry has the opportunity to redefine the relationships between conception and production.i Therefore, in an integrated practice model, the architect’s potential role is one of an intense key collaborator or master facilitator of a building process that oscillates between the key players in a design and building project.

Our bodies are always ready to fight or flee; that’s what we call fear.

Matías Corral a Puma loose in Boston – Matias Corral Rugby Player

I’ve spent my whole childhood fighting against fear and searching for all the known ways to set it aside, make it an ally. But not always with success.

Since I was a child, people mocked me for being fearful. I felt fear, but I didn’t want to deal with it. I admired the brave ones from the school and sports group I belonged. I admired the people who managed to achieve something that I was afraid of doing, and they just did it without thinking it twice. I had many “brave” friends.

I searched for all the possible ways to leave it behind. Ignore it, but… I not always managed to achieve it.

For the first few years, we lived on the outskirts. From my fourth to the eleventh birthday. My oldest brother was fearless. It seems he wasn’t afraid of anything. At that moment I was the youngest of…

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Download Stephen Hawking Thesis (1966)
Before he died, one of Stephen Hawking’s earliest academic works was published late last year.
Hawking, S. (1966). Properties of expanding universes (doctoral thesis).
This thesis has been made openly available with the kind permission of Professor Stephen Hawking.
Some implications and consequences of the expansion of the universe are examined. In Chapter 1 it is shown that this expansion creates grave difficulties for the Hoyle-Narlikar theory of gravitation. Chapter 2 deals with perturbations of an expanding homogeneous and isotropic universe. The conclusion is reached that galaxies cannot be formed as a result of the growth of perturbations that were initially small. The propagation and absorption of gravitational radiation is also investigated in this approximation. In Chapter 3 gravitational radiation in an expanding universe is examined by a method of asymptotic expansions. The ‘peeling off’ behaviour and the asymptotic group are derived. Chapter 4 deals with the occurrence of singularities in cosmological models. It is shown that a singularity is inevitable provided that certain very general conditions are satisfied.



City of Bits

Space, Place, and the Infobahn

ISBN 0-262-63176-8

232 pp. – 16 illus.

from William J. Mitchell
Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT

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By Pierson William Booher. University of Pennsylvania

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Louis Isidore Kahn was born on February 20, 1901 on the Island of Saaremaa, Estonia to Leopold and Bertha Mendelsohn. Upon immigrating to the United States
in 1906, the family settled in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia and changed their last name to Kahn. The early part of the family’s life in Philadelphia was marked by extreme poverty. It was a transient existence as they moved from house to house throughout their first years in America. Kahn’s father Leopold was a talented designer but struggled to find steady work, and after suffering a debilitating back injury the family was forced to lean heavily on the knitted clothing samples produced by Kahn’s mother.1 The modest upbringing led a young Louis, driven by his innate inquisitiveness, to seek out enlightenment. Even as a young boy, Kahn’s interest in the beauty of nature was readily apparent. He had suffered severe burns to his face as a youth because he got too close to a collection of burning coals; when asked about why he defied his senses, Kahn said that he was attracted by the beautiful colors of the embers.2

Along with his sense of curiosity, Kahn was predisposed to the arts; his mother was an accomplished harp player, commonly filling the household with the beautiful harmony of the instrument. Because the Kahn family was so poor during their early life in the U.S., Kahn was forced to seek musical instruction through his schooling rather than in private lessons. During his stint at the Public Industrial Art School, a professor suggested he turn down a musical scholarship in favor of following his talent in the visual arts. As a result, between 1912 and 1920 – in addition to his instruction at the Public Industrial Art School between 1912 and 1914 – Kahn attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Graphic Sketch Club (later renamed the Fleischer Memorial Art School), and Central High School.3 During the 1919-1920 academic year, Kahn was awarded first prize for best drawings in the high schools of Philadelphia, an award sponsored by the Academy of Fine Arts. Despite his artistic talent, Kahn became enamored with the field of architecture after taking Professor William Gray’s Architectural History course during his senior

year of high school.4 Kahn’s interest in architecture was strong enough to influence him to forgo plans to study painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, instead enrolling in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Fine Arts to study architecture.

Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Society of Architectural Historians
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By Arnold Hauser

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