Pico Classification

Guidance on content patterns and key concepts: scopeactor mapsstatute booksinitiative booksresource booksthree realm mapsgovernment functionsindustry sectorsmunicipal circlescontracts and claimsscope of claims
Classifications: macro, meso, micro, pico
Architecture: societal architecture


Human actors

The target actors at the Pico level are all persons that might use and produce externalized knowledge during their life, education and work. The community of person-actors is very heterogeneous, with age, gender, resource endowment, education, health, kinship and family-relationships, employment and livelihood as some of the typical determinants. Yet, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child confirms the same rights for all human beings, young or aged, rich or poor.

These pico-level actors (and roles) are included in the Actor Atlas:

Inclusion Failures

In methods of sustainable development it must be ascertained that even smallholders, poor and disadvantaged persons can interactively influence the joint generation of options, joint decision making and joint actions.

This is the inclusion requirement.

The use of the mother tongue in education, and the availability of educational content are important enabling conditions for smallholders' participation in socio-economic development. They are even fundamental human rights, as stated in Article 17 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet in many languages the offering of educational and other content is very limited, as indicated by Wikipedia Gaps.

Several proposed education sector initiatives to help overcoming failures in meeting fundamental human rights are listed at Education Initiative Book.

Persons' Capacities

Humans are self-conscious, anticipatory, imaginative, creative beings. This means that they are not restricted to act in narrowly confined ways according to fixed rules of behaviour. They can invent new solutions—or they may not even see the obvious ones. (Bossel, 1999, page 5 [1]). Where people fulfil roles in economic activities, as public servants or as participants in institutions, specific skills, knowledge and attitudes are expected from them.

In the Preface of atria.us, four broad competence areas are briefly explained: Communications & Teamwork, Knowledge Translation, Listening Attitude and Skills for Civic Participation.

These competences must be combined with specific knowledge, experience and physical capacities of people as they fulfil the roles of pico actors in the classes of economic activity listed in Sector Maps.

Persons' Needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs gives a holistic perspective on a person's needs. These needs must be taken into consideration in change, education and training initiatives [2].

  • Physiological Needs consist of needs for oxygen, food, water, and a relatively constant body temperature. They are the strongest needs because if a person were deprived of all needs, these would come first in the person's search for satisfaction.
  • Safety Needs. When all physiological needs are satisfied and are no longer controlling thoughts and behaviours, the needs for security can become active. Adults have little awareness of their security needs except in times of emergency or periods of disorganization in the social structure (such as widespread rioting). Children often display the signs of insecurity and the need to be safe.
  • Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness can emerge next. Maslow states that people seek to overcome feelings of loneliness and alienation. This involves both giving and receiving love, affection and the sense of belonging.
  • Needs for Esteem can become dominant next. These involve needs for both self-esteem and for the esteem a person gets from others. When these needs are satisfied, the person feels self-confident and valuable as a person in the world. When these needs are frustrated, the person feels inferior, weak, helpless and worthless.
  • Needs for Self-Actualization are activated if and only if all of the foregoing needs are satisfied. Maslow describes self-actualization as a person's need to be and do that which the person was "born to do." "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write." These needs make themselves felt in signs of restlessness that cannot be attributed to the non-satisfaction of the foregoing needs

The Person's Context

The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework offers a comprehensive view of the assets and capacities a person needs to escape poverty on a sustainable basis, and of the interactions between the vulnerability context and the poverty of persons and households. Any person needs a critical mass of assets to cope with stresses and shocks, and to maintain and enhance capabilities. Concise descriptions of the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework are at The Sustainable Livelihood Framework (powerpoint, 428KB) or DFID Key Sheet (pdf, 43KB).

For the person in a high-tech facility, Yamada [3]) explains the issues.

Pico-level Classifications

The pico-level actors that we are interested in are human beings. The community of person-actors is very heterogeneous, with age, gender, resource endowment, education, health, kinship and family-relationships, employment and livelihood as some of the typical determinants.

Person can be differentiated according to their skills, earned degrees, consumption patterns, time use, etc.

Some relevant classifications are:

Other Resources

For a full description of the human body, its functions, possible disabilities and health, see the (browser) of International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). The ICF browser is available in Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

For information on rights, practical tips and advice on life, work and travel in the EU, see the citizen branch of http://ec.europa.eu/youreurope/ (soon to be provided jointly by the European Commission and national authorities in 24 languages).


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