December 13, 2002: In Bottoms Up: Designing complex, adaptive systems, Peter Morville offers an (ironically top-down) approach to designing from the bottom up. I seem to remember Peter Merholz making a lot of the same points under the phrase the "tyranny of hierarchy" (no permalink, but you can search for "tyranny" on that page). The basic idea is that monolithic hierarchies do violence to any more-than-a-little complex information space, which reminds me of my favorite classical mythology phrase: the Procrustean Bed.