top of page


Our research is focused on the interaction between people and place.

Following are some ideas that we've created or shared that

inspire us and our clients.

Work, Professions, Society and Meaning

American Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2006 Great Divides Transgressing Boundaries

This paper sets forth a Human Interest Diagram which is used to analyze the relationship between work, professions, society and meaning in people’s lives. It then uses this diagram to provide a context for discussing origins of meaning in life and work, rituals used to create meaning, and the evolution of order in society. The tool also provides a viewpoint that clarifies the role of philosophy, the sciences, politics and philanthropists in an evolving society that requires both consistent rituals and adaptation to change. The diagram becomes a useful reference tool when making important connections and understandings between the variety of unpredictable human adventures in society.

Joseph Lambke* Animate, Inc.

Beyond Digital Naturalism 

Artificial Life, 1 & 2, 1994

The success of Artificial Life depends on whether it will help solving the conceptual problems of biology. Biology may be viewed as the science of the transformation of organizations. And, yet, biology lacks a theory of organization. We use this as an example of the challenge that Artificial Life must meet. 


“If - as I believe - physics and chemistry are conceptually inadequate as a theoretical framework for biology, it is because they lack the concept of function, and hence that of organization. [...] [P]erhaps, therefore, we should give the [...] computer scientists more of a say in the formulation of Theoretical Biology." Christopher Longuet-Higgins, 1969 

Walter Fontana, Günter Wagner and Leo W. Buss

Evolution of Places: Intentionality in the Built Environment

Sixth International Artificial Life Conference

Within the evolution of places including metropolises, cities, towns and neighborhoods, human beings and human organizations are the actors that make deals resulting in architectural changes to the built environment. The patterns that evolve are intentional at two levels: at a simple level, the actors (city planners) in the system directly intend to create certain features; and at more complex levels, the interactions of many autonomous actors (developers, transportation officials, financiers, etc.) indirectly give rise to yet different patterns, notably metropolitan sprawl. This paper proposes an organizational mechanism capable of evolving the built environment into a highly correlated fitness landscape of human deal centers which reflect actual building densities and land values. The final section considers the implications of this mechanism relative to the human limitations of structuring the built environment.

Joseph Lambke, Animate, Inc.

Growth, innovation, scaling, and the pace of life in cities

PNAS 􏰗 April 24, 2007 􏰗 vol. 104 􏰗 no. 17

Humanity has just crossed a major landmark in its history with the majority of people now living in cities. Cities have long been known to be society’s predominant engine of innovation and wealth creation, yet they are also its main source of crime, pollution, and disease. The inexorable trend toward urbanization world- wide presents an urgent challenge for developing a predictive, quantitative theory of urban organization and sustainable devel- opment. Here we present empirical evidence indicating that the processes relating urbanization to economic development and knowledge creation are very general, being shared by all cities belonging to the same urban system and sustained across different nations and times. Many diverse properties of cities from patent production and personal income to electrical cable length are shown to be power law functions of population size with scaling exponents, that fall into distinct universality classes. Quantities reflecting wealth creation and innovation have 􏰃 􏰆1.2 >1 (increasing returns), whereas those accounting for infrastructure display 􏰃􏰆0.8 <1 (economies of scale). We predict that the pace of social life in the city increases with population size, in quantitative agreement with data, and we discuss how cities are similar to, and differ from, biological organisms, for which 􏰃<1. Finally, we explore possible consequences of these scaling relations by deriving growth equations, which quantify the dramatic difference between growth fueled by innovation versus that driven by economies of scale. This difference suggests that, as population grows, major innovation cycles must be generated at a continually accelerating rate to sustain growth and avoid stagnation or collapse.

Luís M. A. Bettencourt, José Lobo, Dirk Helbing, Christian Kühnert, and Geoffrey B. West

Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups


Psychologists have repeatedly shown that a single statistical factor—often called “general intelligence”—emerges from the correlations among people’s performance on a wide variety of cognitive tasks. But no one has systematically examined whether a similar kind of “collective intelligence” exists for groups of people. In two studies with 699 people, working in groups of two to five, we find converging evidence of a general collective intelligence factor that explains a group’s performance on a wide variety of tasks. This “c factor” is not strongly correlated with the average or maximum individual intelligence of group members but is correlated with the average social sensitivity of group members, the equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking, and the proportion of females in the group.

Anita Williams Woolley, Christopher F. Chabris, Alex Pentland, Nada Hashmi, Thomas W. Malone

The Logic of Invention

workshop at the Santa Fe Institute in February 2004

In this essay I want to explore how novel technologies come into being. By “novel” here I am not talking about improvements in standard technologies. Rather I want to ask how radically newtechnologies—ones such as radar, the polymerase chain reaction, the turbojet, or the laser printer—come to exist as entities that depart in some deep sense from what went before.

W. Brian Arthur

Markets vs. professions: value added?

Dædalus Summer 2005

The prestige of the traditional profes- sions is under siege. Not just their per- formance but also their claim to distinct expertise, the very core of professional legitimacy, has come under withering fire. Skepticism is particularly leveled at professional claims that the public interest is being served. Lawyers now routinely expect denigration for their professional affliation, even from other attorneys. Physicians are not only challenged by the proponents of ‘alternative medicine,’ but face patients armed with all kinds of medical knowledge obtained through the Internet. The prevalence of ‘emergency’ teaching credentials in school classrooms calls into question the value of professional teacher training. The list goes on.

William M. Sullivan

Architectural Technology

University of Cincinatti, Critical Practice Conference 1994

Using a definition of technology that stresses its role as a body of knowledge rather than an artifact, this paper takes on two issues of architectural practice through the avenue of recent scientific advances. The discussion explores the particular organizational structure that exists within the process of architectural practice and second it questions the architectural “pursuit of form.” By including cultural aspirations, or organizational structures of a civilization with the construction of an artifact, forms can be distinguished from simply stylistic variation. Architectural forms in the future will require new organizational systems that can process the increasingly complex information that is changing our society.

Joseph Lambke

Radical Markets- How Economists Became So Timid

Book and background article

The ideas we present in the book would radically change many features of our society. You might naturally ask why we believe such fundamental change is necessary and whether it isn’t more dangerous to take a step into the unknown than to maintain our institutions that have generated relative stability. At one level we agree, and all of our ideas have narrow, cautious initial applications. However, we believe that wealthy countries are at a moment of fundamental crisis that threatens the legitimacy and stability of our values and institutions. Unless we can inspire a new generation with a productive vision for the future, we believe the coming years hold great peril for wealthy societies.

Glen Weyl & Eric Posner

Santa Fe Insitute: The Future is Not What It Used To Be

Notes from Conference in 2009



Our predictions are statements about ourselves. Predictions reveal the author’s model of the universe. And therefore, philosophy matters. We look to culture to understand, to translate, how viewpoints are formed and how collective viewpoints impact change.


Predictions are most useful as a data gathering component of decision making, however extrapolations and overconfidence often lead to errors. In selecting variables to consider, time although used frequently, is not necessarily the most illuminating. How much time is one willing to spend when evaluating a decision? As a thought experiment one could build a simulation of the planet, to decide what to do. However ultimate accuracy could only be guaranteed by “running the clock” twice.


Revolutions emerge from the urge, not from moral obligations. Real change is the summation of quantum effects.

Joe Lambke




SFI biz net

Slavoj Zizek & Pippin taking on Change, Financial Transactions, and Civility

These are notes informing reflections on the 2019 RadicalxChange Conference. They encompass three notions that are essential to take the RadicalxChange movement forward:


1.) the nature of change

Deleuze's Platonism: Ideas as Real, by Slavoj Zizek

"Freedom" is thus inherently retroactive: at its most elementary, it is not simply a free act which, out of nowhere, starts a new causal link, but a retroactive act of endorsing which link/sequence of necessities will determine me. 


2.) exchange creates social relations across time

The Liberal Utopia: the Market Mechanism for the Race of Devils, by Slavoj Zizek

From this standpoint, money can be defined as the means which enable us to have contacts with others without entering in proper relations with them. This atomized society where we have contacts with others without entering in proper relations with them, is the presupposition of liberalism.


3.) why civility is essential

The Ethical Status of Civility in The Persistence of Subjectivity by Robert Pippin

... said in its most paradoxical forms, that one cannot be free alone, that being free must involve being recognized as free.  


It is from these three essays (downloadable in the link above) the phrase "Civility is freedom's prerequisite." emerged from. As well as the potential definition:

"RadicalxChange is a human (societal) trade where some portion of the trade remains ambiguous, remains social and contributes to long-term social bonds."


Joe Lambke, 3 June 2019




Anchor 1

Transportation Challenges: infiniteTransit flyway



Can new transportation resolve the challenge of shrinking large American Cities?




bottom of page