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When Less is More

  • 1.  When Less is More

    Posted 6 days ago

    An intriguing article showed up in one of my news feeds with the catch line "When aiming to make something better, people often add elements to an existing design. However, an equally effective strategy might be to steer toward minimalism and remove existing features." The article is titled Our Brain Typically Overlooks This Brilliant Problem-Solving Strategy and is from Scientific American (tiered subscription model).

    In case you can't open the article, here's the link to the embedded video with some great examples. Some so simple you could kick yourself for not having thought of.

    Do you examples or experience from projects you have worked on where less is more? 

    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX

  • 2.  RE: When Less is More

    Posted 2 days ago
    Thank you for sharing that article! What a great Monday morning mental stretch.

    I listened to a talk from an Australian engineer that evaluated our approaches (US vs Australian) to implementing water quality BMPs (or SCMs, or your preferred term). He noted that the American approach tends to be to require many components to the BMP, such as forebays, in order to implement the approach and it tended to be all or nothing, as you needed to meet or exceed a nutrient reduction onsite. In Australia, the approach has been more "do what you can", which has meant that more BMPs have been implemented and people are more likely to consider retrofits of existing development, even if the efficiency of the BMP is less. Ultimately this appeared to lead to greater implementation of BMPs, although he hadn't looked into the overall nutrient loads and hypothesized that likely we ultimately ended up with the same overall reductions. The presentation was a part of the 2014 Ohio Stormwater Conference, but unfortunately my conference materials are in my office.

    Stephanie Hanses P.E., M.ASCE
    Brown and Caldwell
    Raleigh NC

  • 3.  RE: When Less is More

    Posted 4 hours ago
    Thanks for sharing Mitch! I'm definitely guilty of having an additive mindset in a lot of areas of my life. Usually I don't stop doing something until I get so busy that it just naturally drops off my schedule. It would probably be beneficial to me to start thinking about this in advance in the future.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer