Erik Porse, PhD

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Quotes



“Do you have any questions for my answers?”
– Henry Kissinger

“The history of the growth and development of Los Angeles, for example, reveals its conscious use of water as a tool to build the “great metropolis of the Pacific”.
– Vincent Ostrom

“Past efforts to improve cities have failed because the city has not been perceived properly as… [a] system that interacts with its environment. An inappropriate frame of reference leads to ineffective policies.”
– Jay Forrester

“Theories are cheap; they cost only the time and effort of the theorists and these can be had quite inexpensively.
– David Easton. (A Systems Analysis of Political Life)

“A mind that in a given instance knew all the forces by which nature is animated and the position of all the bodies of which it is composed, if it were vast enough to include all these data within his analysis, could embrace in one single formula the movements of the largest bodies of the universe and of the smallest atoms; nothing would be uncertain for him; the future and the past would be equally before his eyes.”
– From Laplace, Essai philosophique sur les probabilités.

“A city, then, is a complex collective dynamic entity: a super-unit, composed of components that are themselves units, rather than a corporate unit comprising sub-units. As a collective entity, a city is simultaneously one thing and several things.”
– Stephen Marshall (Cities, Design, and Evolution)

“The view from this bridge, mercifully concealed from mortals of small stature by a parapet as high as a man, is characteristics for the whole district. At the bottom flows, or rather stagnates, the Irk, a narrow, coal-black, foul-smelling stream full of debris an drefuse, which it deposits on the shallower right bank. In dry weather, a long string of the most disgusting, blacksish-green slime pools are left standing on this bank, from the depths of which bubbles masmatic gas constantly arise and give forth a stench unendurable even on the bridge forty or fifty feet above the surface of the stream. Above the bridge are tanneries, bonemills, and gasworks, from which all drains and refuse find their way into the Irk, which receives further the contents of all the neighbouring sewers and privies.”
– Friedrich Engels (The Condition of the Working Class in England)

“The form of the termite skyscrapers is not designed but may be said to be emergent. The emergent order- or ‘design’- came out of, or emerged from, the interactions of individual termites doing simple individual actions, like picking up, carrying, or depositing things…. this order cannot wholly be explained by trial and error or random chance occurring during the emergence of an individual mound, but must be seen to result from this inherited building behavior being repeated and adapted over the course of successive mound-building over countless generations of termites.”
– Stephen Marshall (Cities, Design, and Evolution)

“The future quality of infrastructure will be in the landscape… Not just any landscape, but an ecologically intact and aesthetically pleasing one.”
– Karl Ganser (1991)

“But man, the domestic animals that serve him, the field and garden plants the products of which supply him with food and clothing, cannot subsist and rise to the full development of their higher properties, unless brute and unconscious nature be effectually combated, and, in a great degree, vanquished by human art. Hence, a certain measure of transformation of terrestrial surface, of suppression of natural, and stimulation of artificially modified productivity becomes necessary.”
– George Marsh (Man and Nature)

“To see complex systems of functional order as order, and not as chaos, takes understanding.”
– Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities).

“having considered that the covering a ground plot with buildings and pavements, which carry off most of the rain and prevent its soaking into the Earth and renewing and purifying the Springs, whence the water of wells must gradually grow worse, and in time be unfit for use, as I find has happened in all old cities, I recommend that at the end of the first hundred years, if not done before, the corporation of the city Employ a part of the hundred thousand pounds in bringing, by pipes, the water of Wissahickon Creek into the town, so as to supply the inhabitants”
– Benjamin Franklin (Last Will and Testament)

“But I am into the intellectual thing, I went to college and studied the great philosophers… You learn the important things. If you are studying geology, which is all facts, and as soon as you get out of school you forget it all because it’s just numbers and things. But philosophy, you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life.”
– Steve Martin, (A Wild and Crazy Guy) 1978

“It is only in the very simplest instances that it can be shown briefly and without any technical apparatus how the independent actions of individuals will produce an order which is no part of their intentions; and in those instances the explanation is usually so obvious that we never stop to examine the type of argument which leads us to it.”
– Frederick von Hayek, (The Counter-Revolution of Science) (1955)

“The commission accepted that the cost-benefit analysis could never include all the factors relevant to the decision. But it could provide a framework within which all the evidence could be brought together and weighed. In fact, the final verdict of the majority of the commissioners could be fairly described as cost-benefit analysis modified by judgment.”
– Sir Peter Hall, (Great Planning Disasters)

“Believing that another season of stomach complaint and gravel in the kidneys would do the citizens of New York City no irreparable harm, the Legislature took no action on the bill to charter the New York Water-Works Company during the 1824 session.”
– Nelson Blake, (Water for the Cities) (1956)

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