Seeding and scaling
April 30, 2012
Procurement. Another small word with big meaning. A cartoon might characterise the argument about procurement as scaling or bundling packages of works to be delivered cheaper, and seeding, creating conditions for local participation and local effects. The difference between the two is vast. Perhaps one way of understanding the difference is questioning the common good; what is the common good context in your place and how do you procure it?
Some see public estates as a key problem. There are too many properties distributed in too many places. It is inefficient, and locks up various forms of capital. Releasing this capital would be beneficial as would some rationalisation of the estate. Typically, this means a large building with more services and disposing of other properties, either through sale or mothballing. Costs reduce. Short term revenue through sales might increase. It is more efficient. But what is the public good cost of this efficiency?
Tallin recently built a new parliament. By all accounts it is a fantastic building; modern, confident and of its place. The Estonians are proud. An architect attending a convention on the creative economy in the city was asked what he thought. He mulled the question and said it was nice. ‘Nice’ is a small word whose scale is disproportionate to the disappointment some people feel when they hear it. The interviewer was disappointed.