Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

What Works: Communities

In the workshops and colloquia on facilities PKAL has hosted since 1992 we have challenged participants to be conscious of the relationship between the success of the collaborating community and the success of the spaces that emerge from their work. Participants comment:

...we now recognize that a characteristic of community is informed discussion, and that there has to be institutional commitment if the project is to succeed.
We also recognize that designing a building is a community-builder; we have been impatient, planning too much department by department....

In the spirit of these comments, we suggest a community that "works" is one that:

  • has a clear understanding of the students of today, and of the future in which they will live and work
  • energizes gifted and respected leaders in the faculty and administrative ranks, and gives them the requisite flexibility, responsibility, and resources to effect change
  • understands the critical questions to be asked at each stage in the process of reform, and asks them in a context of mutual respect and shared commitments
  • takes risks, seeks new collaborators and supporters, develops partnerships that dissolve boundaries within the academy and within the larger community of stakeholders
  • broadens the discussion, redefines the problem, and understands the kaleidoscopic nature of efforts to build natural science communities that serve the national interest.

- Excerpted from PKAL Volume III: Structures for Science, 1995.