# Mathematics as Planning

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### kirby urner

Oct 30, 2011, 12:26:17 PM10/30/11

Our family has an urban planning background, later
regional planning, thanks to my dad's career in the
field, somewhat new as a PhD offering in the 1950s,
when he graduated from the University of Chicago
(where I was born).

Portland, the city in which I live, has a reputation for
being well planned, though of course if you live here
you see a lot of blemishes.  Nevertheless, there's
plenty of civic pride.

They say "Portland is where young people go to
retire" but the comeback we're working on makes
use of the physics meaning of "work".  The young
people say "we are working now, and will work 'til
the day we die" (and they're right, in the physics
sense, as "to work" simply means "to burn energy").

One of the things I'm doing in my Pythonic Andragogy
class (not always called that) is to encourage the
use of math in planning "refugee camps".  I put that
in quotes because we have no clear meaning of
"refugee" at first, nor of "camps", but we need to
invoke imagery, and here's a place to start.  We

Circles make the hexagonal pattern we're familiar with
from doing it with pennies (coins).  That assumes all
the circles are the same size, and that's OK for
drawing board purposes.  I switch to these aerial
views of the Libyan desert, where a similar pattern
pertains.  You'll find this in North America as well,
in some patches:

With the refugee camp, the circles are much smaller,
one per hexayurt.  Then there's "the perimeter" where
we talk about such things as "guards at the gate".
The metaphor of a castle has been important in my
curriculum writing for quite awhile, as it's used to
represent the place where "http requests" go to get
data (the castle keep is like an SQL and/or noSQL
engine of some kind, to be analyzed in some detail).

Drawing circles on a sphere is an important key frame
in our curriculum hypertoon.  The segues to sphere
packing, or to generating important roots (root of 2, root
of 3, root of 5) and so on (Neolithic Math), are myriad.
We call such nodes "grand centrals" (Pascal's Triangle
is another one, Mandelbrot Set another yet).

We have a building in Portland some of us have
dubbed the Ministry of Education.  It's an abandoned
high school, where Linus Pauling went as a boy, and
when living in the house our Wanderers now frequent
c/o isepp.org and other investors.  I included several
pictures of this building, and the park in front, in my
Earthday slides (see link below).  This park is a
place to take measurements and draw circles, using
a stake and string only (Neolithic gear).  The hexayurts
themselves get modeled as Python classes, subclasses
of DwellingMachine.  I do commercials for various
brands of "cubby" at this point, so the hexayurt
concept doesn't become too entrenched compared
to all these other options.

You might be asking where the mathematics enters
this picture.  Feeding the campers takes joules (how
many per day?).  We think in terms of "burning light
bulbs" and look at individual human bodies as each
burning through calories with such and such a
brightness (watts, power = energy / time).  Not that
much really.  Taking care of billions of humans is not
as much of an energy investment as you might think.
The sun pays for it and then some, each day, via the
various energy-transforming pathways that form the
basis for our network studies (agriculture goes here,
under Geography).

Some of our Portland students are currently camping
at the OPDX campus, though in a more haphazard,
less planned design, with only the one yurt and one
geodesic dome.  My Pythonic Andragogy is a lot about
the routing and cooking challenges associated with
feeding this camp, and others like it.  To get promoted
in this curriculum, one actually has to get off one's duff
and do stuff (it's not all classroom based).  You don't
reach the officer grades (ranks) without considerable
expenditure of energy.  Not surprisingly, my officers
(teachers) tend to be in pretty good shape, as well
as mathematically adept.  Hikers and cyclers -- skills
you'll need when lugging around that dodeca-cam
from Immersive Media.

Kirby

### kirby

Oct 31, 2011, 11:13:35 PM10/31/11
to MathFuture
On Oct 30, 9:26 am, kirby urner <kirby.ur...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Our family has an urban planning background, later
> regional planning, thanks to my dad's career in the
> field, somewhat new as a PhD offering in the 1950s,
> when he graduated from the University of Chicago
> (where I was born).
>

Clients of this expertise, which is not an easy science, as
it involves implementation not just storyboards. Robert Moses
typifies the controversial practitioner of the art.

Dad's clients included Gov'ts of Egypt, Bhutan, Libya, USA
and Lesotho, not necessarily in that order. Philippines,
Bangladesh. The UN in a couple of those. Not chronological
order.

I therefore grew up in different places.

> They say "Portland is where young people go to
> retire" but the comeback we're working on makes

That's from a TV show called 'Portlandia' that a lot of
trendy hip "kids" are supposedly watching.

http://youtu.be/AVmq9dq6Nsg

> use of the physics meaning of "work".  The young
> people say "we are working now, and will work 'til
> the day we die" (and they're right, in the physics
> sense, as "to work" simply means "to burn energy").
>
> One of the things I'm doing in my Pythonic Andragogy
> class (not always called that) is to encourage the
> use of math in planning "refugee camps".  I put that
> in quotes because we have no clear meaning of
> "refugee" at first, nor of "camps", but we need to
> invoke imagery, and here's a place to start.  We
>
> Circles make the hexagonal pattern we're familiar with
> from doing it with pennies (coins).  That assumes all
> the circles are the same size, and that's OK for
> drawing board purposes.  I switch to these aerial
> views of the Libyan desert, where a similar pattern
> pertains.  You'll find this in North America as well,
> in some patches:
>
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/17157315@N00/5112444674/
>

Here's some student work:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/17157315@N00/6301126706/in/photostream/
(before)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/17157315@N00/6300595391/in/photostream/
(after)

I'm not saying there's one correct "solution" or "plan".

These are elements of a meandering story problem that
involves delivering services to humans in need, among
other things.

It's also about routing and switching, moving both
material and personnel to where they're needed and
wanted. This might be called "rotation" and lots
of networks play that game (trucking one of the
obvious examples).

The space we're mapping out here is not expected to
contain a crush of huddled masses, like at OPDX
downtown. This is a place for officers / teachers
to set up their Cubbies (of whatever description,
could be hexayurts) and get to work.

There might be mobile units in the form of vans or

It's like a board game.

different types of food source and drop off point,
with bicycles running along the edges between the
nodes.

http://controlroom.blogspot.com/2011/08/board-games.html

We might hit a routing database with http requests
to plan our trip.

http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7595020&tstart=0

Happy Halloween,

Kirby