Full text: ARCH+ : Studienhefte für architekturbezogene Umweltforschung und -planung (1968, Jg. 1, H. 1-4)

the future have staffs between 3,000 (Standford Insti- 
tute) and 1,200 (Rand Institute) such numbers sound 
rather frightening to European ears, 
It can be argued - and this is the position the author of 
this study would like to take - that a small permanent 
core of "generalists" dedicated to the future, which 
would in the first place co-ordinate, correlate and en- 
courage the existing groups calling in temporary teams 
of specialists only when the necessity arises may in most 
cases achieve superior results. 
Such an approach may be wiser for psychological as well 
as for practical reasons, It would do away with the un- 
derstandable reluctance to establish a powerful new 
"super-agency", a burocracy on top of other burocra- 
cies, It might also be much easier to assemble for the 
changing purposes of the ELOI the best men and women 
in the special field who would certainly be available 
on a short-term basis, but would never dream of giving 
up for good or for a long stretch their established pro- 
fessional basis, 
In fact an immense amount of future oriented work is al- 
ready in progress all over the world and all over Europe, 
What is still lacking might be called with a modern term 
the "systems approach", the "wider view", the "larger" 
The ELOI (European Look-out Institution) should not try 
to compete with any existing agencies, but assist and 
help them in adding two new dimensions to their work: 
the "overall view" and the "look ahead", It can do so 
best, when it uses all existing available sources of in- 
formation, learns to combine them and creates or (betteı 
even) encourages the production of additional informa- 
tion only where it is found to be lackina. 
Not only should it refrain from organisational egotism, 
but should also make it one of its tasks to counsel other 
organisations to give up work, which has either directly 
been done by their "competitors", or is being done now. 
Intellectual effort is nowadays too important to be wast- 
ed on duplication of research, 
b, Setting up a social warning system 
One of the important functions of the ELOI deriving 
from its endeavour to see the "larger picture" will be 
the installing of a "social warning system", which would 
draw the attention of the executive, and legislative 
branches of the Government as well as of public opinion 
to anticipated social and cultural crises, dangers and 
new opportunities. 
Such warning systems exist already in the economic and 
military spheres, they have been partly developed by 
some of the specialised agencies of the United Nations 
like the WHO and the FAO. 
But, as the recent disaster of a giant oiltanker near the 
shores of Great Britain has shown, there exists no warn- 
ing service concerned with the immense dangers threat- 
ening the ecology of the human planet, by "blind tech- 
nology". Faced with a doubling of its present popula- 
tions,within the next three decades, a densely popula- 
ted continent like Europe will have to devote as special 
measure of long-term foresight to ecological questions 
caused by the doubted impact of increasing technolo- 
gical power and demoaraphic pressure, 
ARCH + 1(1968)H1 
Another danger ahead, which should be the concern not 
only of demographers and urbanists but also of social 
psychiatrists is the danger of overcrowding. Behaviou- 
ral studies in the United States and Germany have shown 
how crowding can bring about mass neurosis and irratio- 
nal outbreaks, How is this to be reconciled with the 
equaliy important trend to stop the spread of urban sett- 
lements into the countryside in favour of high density 
Many of the dangers threatening our civilisation are by 
now well known, But if the warning service of the Coun- 
cil of Europe basing its pronouncements on thorough en- 
quiries would become the official Cassandra of our age 
these portents of coming disaster might be taken much 
more seriously as if they were uttered merely by groups 
or ad hoc associations of worried scientists. Further- 
more, the European Look-out Institution should try to 
present alternatives to current developments and their 
anticipated catastrophic outcome, See below, 
The more important part of the warning service’s acti- 
vities would consist in the discovery of possible future 
crises in their incipient states, Up to now, we have be- 
gun to fight negative developments only at moments 
when they were already upon us. That is much too late, 
Such has been the case of air and water pollution, of 
automobile traffic in urban areas, of soil erosion and 
careless river regulation. With the help of the proposed 
warning system we might be able to control possible 
undesirable or difficult developments long before they 
acauire a dangerous character, 
Have we for instance considered deeply enough the 
relationship between increasing leisure time (possibly 
unemployment) due to the increase of automation and 
mental health problems or crime? Have we given enough 
thought to the formidable questions raised by the fact 
that very soon the "senior citizen" among us will repre- 
sent a much larger segment of the population as before? 
How will longevity affect marriages? How inheritance? 
How future job distribution? How will it influence the 
number of necessary doctors and medical education? 
There seems to be little doubt that control based on in- 
formation about all phases of our individual life is on 
the increase, What will be the consequences for priva- 
cy? Where does the "right to know" of the community 
stop? How will fundamental human rights be endanger- 
Furthermore, it will be of great importance for the law 
to gird itself against future dangers, Very little has 
been done to adjust law to the acceleration of change 
and the deep revolutions caused only too often by 
change, When such problems are discussed most people 
see only some glamourous new fields which have been 
opened to law such as "Space" or "Inner Space" (The 
Oceans) or the consequences of "artificial insemina- 
tion", But there are other minor and more insidious 
questions on the legal horizon, such as for instance 
growing lawlessness in "minor offenses" because the de- 
fendant assumes rightly that police and the courts are 
overburdened and that his case, if discovered at all, 
miaht finally be dropped. 
Relatively little serious thinking has been done about 
the future of labour, Problems like the right to work in 

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