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A Service Ecology – Whatever that is???

January 23, 2011

I was reading an article by John Thackara in Design Observer called, The Service Ecology of a City about the design of services in Milan.

The article points out that,  ‘An ongoing conversation with citizens has elicited an understanding of which services are considered important for daily life — such as schools, kindergartens, libraries, health and social services‘. The article then goes on to say,  ‘The new Plan does not fix which services will be activated in the future, nor where they will be placed. On the contrary, the idea is to enable a cyclical decision making process in which the identification of needs and action priorities is continuous. Unlike in traditional planning, the city never arrives at the moment in which its plan is finished‘. Later on the following comment is made – ‘the idea is to highlight spatial opportunities and down the line, to remove planning and regulatory blockages’.

I am wondering can this kind of approach be applied to networks? Part of the remit of CTVR is to design telecommunication networks that can deal with change. We want to design optical and wireless networks that are evolvable among other things.  We do not want to build the next legacy networks. In other words we want to create a network that never arrives at the moment in which its plan is finished.

There may be no way to go beyond this initial superficial comment of mine but I think it might still be worth pursuing a little. Is there a way of making a basic network and creating maps of points in the network that might grow and extend – or more precisely be extended by entrepreneurs who want to take up the opportunities? I need to look at this topic more.

Oh I found an interesting definition here.

Definition: A service ecology is a system of actors and the relationships between them that form a service. The service ecology takes a systemic view of the service and the context it will operate in. Service ecologies include all actors affected by a service, not only those directly involved in production or use. By analysing service ecologies, it is possible to reveal opportunities for new actors to join the ecology and new relationships between them. Ultimately, sustainable service ecologies depend on a balance where the actors involved exchange value in ways that is mutually beneficial over time.

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