Urban pioneering movement as an example of emergence and change
Keywords:Paradigm shift, positive and negative feedback loops, snowball effect, sustainability movement, urban pioneering movement
This article examines systemic change through a gradual, self-generating change that can lead to a paradigm shift, using urban pioneering movement in Helsinki as an example. The urban pioneering movement aims at transforming the urban culture through activities that generate more tolerant and open city with appreciation to citizen democracy. The movement works against controlled and regulated urban experience and aims at a paradigm shift on how the city is used and perceived. Urban pioneering movement has succeeded in its aims with approaches and maneuvers that may show promise especially in the context of the sustainability movement. The research that was conducted as a part of future learning environments study in Aalto University showed that the urban pioneers generate emergent culture in their environment and they do so by working as if there were two different environments that they need to affect. One of the environments is the visible urban cultural scene where the envisioned change would be taking place and the second is the invisible environment of rules and regulations that the urban pioneers have to work hard with in order to diminish and remove obstacles that slow down the transformation that they aim at. The transformation, when successful, happens as a snowball effect, generating increasingly more change towards the desired goals, until the system has gradually transformed also its values.