The full title:
On the other hand it may be important to note, that the book wasn't planned from the beginning. The idea came after about two years of contributions and from the insight, that without a book the topic would never get into an acceptable form. [under construction]
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(raw translation of the German PDF, please correct errors)
The book „Mustertheorie“ introduces the concepts of Christopher Alexander, the important contemporary thinker, architect and philosopher, professor emeritus at the renowned University of California, Berkeley. His book „A Pattern Language“ (1979) is the only one of books available in German as „Eine Muster-Sprache“ (1995). The extensive four-volume „The Nature of Order“ was published only a few years ago, about 2002-2004, and has not yet received proper attention, neither in Europe nor elsewhere. In the German-speaking world, this work is practically unknown and translation is improbable.
Alexanders opus magnus is impressive. He develops a general theory of life, a system theory built on the terms center and wholeness, transformation and process, pattern and pattern language to allow for the design and creation of living systems. A thought-universe unfolds that is universal: Alexander positions a new scientific paradigm against the causal-mechanistical model of the hard sciences. It’s an organic modell of the unfolding phenomenon of life. At the same time the patterns that he suggests as building blocks appear as a new format to create new knowledge and communicate existing knowledge in a more useful and reusable way, allowing wider participation in all kinds of decisions and processes.
Early fruitful applications in software development, permaculture, regional development and dialog theory (just to name a few) show that the theory works in practise. Pattern theory allows to rethink the structures of systems to allow for more sustainability and participation. It is a toolset for deconstruction and construction, a toolset for innovation and change.
An introduction to Alexanders holistic way of thinking was missing. The book “Mustertheorie” offers such a compact introduction, explaining all important aspects and terms. It also shows how the theory is used in various fields of application and tries to bridge the gap to a number of existing lines of thinking, maybe used by the readers as reference systems.
So on one hand this book is a working aid to help with the practical application of pattern theory. On the other hand it is a general survey to show to a larger audience a truely powerful and innovative way of rethinking, modeling and understanding the world. This rethinking is long overdue.
HelmutLeitner, Graz, September 2007
Wow, congratulations on this major accomplishment, Helmut. You deserve the success. -- SunirShah