Protocol Kit

23 Mar 2024 12:30 -
Open in Logseq
    • The Protocols mavens were kind enough to send me a copy of their Protocol Kit - Summer of Protocols
      • I feel a bit bad that I don't work anywhere except from home, because this would be a great thing to leave lying around a work common area.
    • What follows is some feedback on individual components, as I get to them. This probably reads as more critical than I mean to be, it's just my way of engaging. I actually think this group effort is very interesting and quite possibly of great import (at the moment it seems to be a bit self-consciously trying to be important).
    • Drew Austin, A Protocol Pattern Language for Urban Space
      • Applies Christopher Alexander ideas to protocols for urban spaces. Brings in a lot of ideas about agency and Stewart Brand's pace layers. I have to say I am not sure what work the concept of "protocol" does here. CA patterns are already all about interactions between people and their environment, protocols seems to be a subset of these interactions, the ones that can be legibilized and formalized.
      • The agency of an individual or group—the set of actions available to them—determines which protocols they can engage with. This, in turn, determines which protocol-mediated parts of the built environment they can interact with as mere consumers and which they can shape more fundamentally. This agency, of course, differs for everyone and even varies for a given party over the course of a day, depending on their spatial and temporal circumstances. But it is always subjective.
      • The two example patterns presented (more are forthcoming) are interesting both variations on one theme, which is the gray area between public and private spaces.
        • Gig Delivery Break Rooms
          • This is a pretty reasonable idea in response to current conditions. Cities are thronging with gig delivery people who have no home base for gathering or basic body functions, so how about providing them with one?
          • The protocol qualities of this seem to stem from the fact that gig delivery itself is an emerging urban protocol. It is already reshaping space (many restaurants now have special corners for holding deliveries, for instance). This is taking an existing protocol and reshaping it to be more humane.
          • The critique of this is that it is a shallow solution to a political problem. Gig workers are denied the very minimal rights employees have (such as access to bathrooms) because the whole sector is based on exploitation. Treating them marginally better doesn't address the real problem.
          • Also – it is definitely not in the delivery companies interests to allow gig workers to congregate, that kind of thing is the first step towards labor organizing. So not clear who is sponsoring these watering holes.
        • Privately Owned Public Space Protocols
          • Now this is actually a novel protocol idea: imagine if any space could tell you its rules in some standard way, maybe your phone pops up and tells you that this seating area requires a purchase, this hotel lobby welcomes dogs, etc.
          • I imagine making all this legible would have some downsides, and it feels too top-down and inorganic. Would work great in a shopping mall, not so great for a public square where the point is that the citizens make the rules and often are actively pushing the boundaries of the rules.