The need for an holistic approach

By Jack P. Kruf

One of the characteristics of the public domain (as a whole) is the multitude of stakes, roles, interests which should all fit in that one society, city, village or community, we live in. The matching of stake and interests is a constant balancing act, on every level of society, between citizens and for our natural environment. It is a constant switching pattern between the different governmental layers (country, province, municipality), politicians, experts, managers, scientists, businessmen and the media.

This demands for an holistic approach of the public domain and of course for  a – on this principle based – approach of governance.  This implies a binding approach of all organizations active within a certain geographical entity. Government could (as steward) fulfill this role and be in charge of creating relevant connections and alliances. And take the lead for carrying out the direction of this multidisciplinary form of management. An holistic approach of meeting, connecting and cooperating is needed, more than ever.

The multitude and diversity of stakes are essential characteristics for democratic societies as we know them. Like ecosystems can develop into more complex and biodiverse systems, so does society. If the stability of the system as a whole is a starting point we accordingly need to address the involved public values and risk from this perspective, the very essence of holism. In this the city as concept, as entity is the perspective.

The increasing biodiversity of society seems to demand a more advanced ‘steering wheel’ to keep the right balance in approaching, thinking and handling. Fragmentation and even disintegration of public values are looming if we don’t.

Is the fact that today many social and environmental risks looming and emerging a hint for the fact that growth of complexity, quality of governance and quality of life are less balanced than before? Is Public Governance in for an update? And in need for  a far more advanced way than the present segmented and clientele driven roads we walk.

I think yes. Less segmented, less individual clientele driven. Would be conditional in my view if we truly and still want a more sustainable and balanced society. For that we have to work on fitting in more intelligence into our public governance. Invest in an holistic approach. Within this frame we will have to learn to combine knowledge from the many scientific fields, truly are prepared to analyse the relevant stakes and interests involved with that of the eagle eye of the practitioner who knows what will work at the end and what will not.

Photo by Louise G.S. Kruf ©