Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Framework

As with the book of the same name, the heart of this blog is a framework intended to help people deliberate and make decisions within and about their built environment. Here's how I introduce the framework in the book (on p.72):
Individuals and groups trying to make decisions about their environment and how to live in it need a clear understanding of what is at stake. Some such decisions are especially difficult because there is quite a lot at stake on all sides: any given option preserves some values and destroys others, meets some obligations and violates others.

The framework [on page 73 of the book] is intended as a tool to help decision makers sort through the complexity of many important decisions regarding the built environment, to identify the values and obligations that may be at stake in a given situation. The framework is organized into four main parts, each of which is defined by an ethical question. The parts are further divided into more specific factors or issues that may play into a particular decision.

I would only add that the framework is meant as a guide to careful thought and responsible decision making.  It is not a scorecard for rating or ranking particular places.  Each question, each specific issue, is a point for discussion, something about which there may be reasonable disagreement. 

In this blog, I will engage in further reflection on the framework itself and on each of the questions considered here; provide further background from philosophy, history and other sources; and consider case studies in the ethics of the built environment in which this framework might be of use.