UCSB ENVS 106 - Lecture 12 Thinking in Systems Chatper 6_POST (28 pages)

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Lecture 12 Thinking in Systems Chatper 6_POST



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For more than three decades and in more than a dozen books Professor Robert D Bullard has documented that healthy places and healthy people are highly correlated The poorest of the poor within the United States have the worst health and live in the most degraded environments Bullard s lecture explores how the environment justice framework redefined environmentalism and challenged institutional racism and the dominant environmental Extra Credit Opportunit y Mark your Calendars Chapter 6 Leverage Points Places to Intervene in a System Leverage The silver bullet The miracle cure The secret passage The magic password The Easy Button Chapter 6 Leverage Points Places to Intervene in a System Leverage Interventions to improve system performance may often be counterintuitive Economic growth may not be good for poverty and hunger or unemployment or resource depletion Subsidized housing has unintended feedbacks Ensure people have jobs and housing manages itself not without controversy Surprising system behaviors can result from common sense policies and system interventions MIT s Jay Forrester Forrester 1971 Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems In fact it emerges that the fundamental cause of depressed areas in the cities comes from excess housing in the lowincome category rather than the commonly presumed housing shortage The legal and tax structures have combined to give incentives for keeping old buildings in place As industrial buildings age the employment opportunities decline As residential buildings age they are used by lower income groups who are forced to use them at a higher population density Therefore jobs decline and population rises while buildings age Housing at the higher population densities accommodates more low income urban population than can find jobs A social trap is created where excess low cost housing beckons low income people inward because of the available housing They continue coming to the city until their numbers so far exceed the available income opportunities that the standard of living declines far enough to stop further inflow Income to the area is then too low to maintain all of the housing Excess housing falls into disrepair and is abandoned Counterintuitive that s Forrester s word to describe complex systems Leverage points frequently are not intuitive Or if they are we too often use them backward systematically worsening whatever problems we are trying to solve I offer this list to you with much humility and wanting to leave room for its evolution What bubbled up in me that day was distilled from decades of rigorous analysis of many different kinds of systems done by many smart people But complex systems are well complex It s dangerous to generalize about them What you read here is still a work in progress it s not a recipe for finding leverage points Rather it s an invitation Numbers Rank 12 Constants and Parameters E g subsidies taxes standards Changing the inflows or outflows usually has only a small effect



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