Exchange States




The Flows/Stores Pattern represents the dualistic form of exchangeable resources. It is one aspect of the more foundational Pattern, Polarity. Flows/Stores demonstrates the relationship and the interplay between moving resources in the process of exchange and accumulated reservoirs that may be liberated to augment flows. The amounts in stores must be balanced against the amount and reliability of flows. The role of Flows/Stores is to ensure the uninterrupted capacity for energetic and material exchanges.


The principle of augmented flows: the enduring health of any system depends on the appropriate balance and integration of the amount of resources in flow with the amount of resources held in stocks, for a given context.


Nature: Organisms and Ecosystems

River systems have areas where water is flowing, what most people consider the river itself, and areas where water is more stationary, often called wetlands. During dry periods when the water entering the rivers starts to decline, the stores of water in wetlands provide water to support the flows that in turn support the birds, fish, and other animals that rely on those flows of water to survive.

Inquiry: What would happen to fish populations in rivers if wetland stores of water did not support flows during dry periods?

Culture: Organisations and Economic Systems

Municipal areas and state political bodies create large stores of water for their communities called dams. The dams  provide reliable flows of water for those communities during times when river flows, which initially supplied the area, go into decline phases during dry periods.

Inquiry: What are the consequences of a large city running low on, or in fact running out of, a flow of water to households and industry?