I have been following this conversation with great interest, but have had life challenges that have kept me from participating too much. This note is to share a few resources and to launch an inquiry into why a pattern language approach is important and to challenge us to not just study the pattern language that Rob is creating, but to also engage with it in a critical way, to begin to write our own patterns that may or may not be incorporated into his project, and to think about how it can apply to transition in the US.
1) Peggy Holman of Seattle has a new book out which is a pattern language based approach to working in communities and organizations
Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity
2) Doug Schuler also of Seattle an academic and long time activist around communications issues
Liberating Voices: a Pattern Language for a Communications Revolution
see http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11... for sample chapters,
More importantly see:
http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns/pattern-table-of-conten..., it shows the community based approach to creating a pattern language in civil society. The book has a bunch of evaluatory explorations as well: how do we know if the PL actually is useful or not etc.
3) Tree Bresson and others in Eugene and up and down the pacific coast (including me a bit) have been developing a pattern language for meaningful group conversations: the exciting thing about this work is that sees the PL as not just patterns, but patterns and the relationships between them, patterns are upstream or down stream from each other ets. patterns have been developed asan online and in person prjectover the last year and a half. While the patterns are held in a wiki form, they have been developed individually or in dialog. There have been numerous community meetings and email list to augment theonline process.
Both the second and third projects, have software tools to facilitate the sharing and refining of patterns. I haven't yet, but would like to recommend that ROb look into these tools, since they might accelerate the process.
I will leave my substantive comments to a later date.