Evidently we don’t know where we are heading – so let’s not go there?

4 Apr

‘Evidence-based’ may sound like a fine disciplinary principle for Regulators and Policy Developers.

It may perhaps be mightily convenient that it will take some time to gather the evidence but no-one, surely, can object to careful consideration and debate about proposed changes in the way we do things.

Big brands are always quick to point out that their investors desire forward certainty and less risk.  If their pleas fail to impress they can try delaying some inevitable change by actual or threatened (and expensive) litigation.   So ‘evidence-based’ suits the suits very nicely: it will take time and then they can take more time arguing about the validity of the evidence.  Time enough to put Plans B or C into operation.

But ‘evidence-based’ has one major snag.  It looks backwards, not forward.  It is perhaps a wonderful excuse for not focussing on a few major principles that will guide us in the future.

And when that future is expected to be radically different from the past, when progress and innovation is running ahead of of legislators’ ability to keep up, the evidence of how we did things in the past is not much help.

Nor is it much help when the evidence is hard to find, when activity has not been measured, when Policy and Regulatory priorities are diverted, perhaps by the blandishments of big brands, and not fully cognisant of real world experience.

In our essay on Municipal Enterprise we make the point that for proper recognition of cultural activities we need to deploy new local platforms that will aid societal and economic development – and this newfound awareness would add context and form to the headlong rush towards Smart Cities.





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