Since our technical systems are wholly mixed up with our natural systems, that creates additional levels of complexity. In order to design within these confounding contexts, we need to be able to scale up and scale down as we design: to consider both the granularity of the things we are designing as well as the much larger contexts within which they exist.
Here’s what I mean. A designer considering urban mobility may start at the level of 10^1and consider only the automobile. But zoom out a bit, and you realize that it’s essential to think not just of the automobile, but also of other competing modes of transportation — buses, bicycles, pedestrians, skateboards — that may determine the speed and feasibility of movement. Zoom out to 10^3, and you must understand the dynamics of the neighborhood, and the impact that automobile traffic has on livability, public health, or retail viability.