Saturday, July 10, 2010

looking to the future.

Development is a huge issue here in Mountain View, where Google is located. There is a lot of desire by businesses to grow. However, there is a lot of concern about the impact of that growth. People tend to live far from the office, and here in California that means more cars. Major companies such as Google, Yahoo!, Apple and Facebook even have private bus systems that ferry employees who wish to live in San Francisco to get to work. Most of these companies have commute programs.

Well Google wishes to grow and in this article you can read about their proposal to the Mountain View city council. It is something out of Buck Rogers. Pods carrying individuals around.

Less futuristic are ideas about mixed zoning so that apartments and offices co-mingle. Concerns of creating a "second downtown" Well maybe not a new Downtown, but Canberra in Australia has a layout of multiple town squares that serve as anchors to the community. You can see this classic layout in Savannah, Georgia as well. What is old is new again.

So the question is how do people live these days? Work and non-work are blending timewise. We are tied to Blackberries and iPhones more and more. So as those temporal zones of life disappear, why do our physical zones of life remain segregated? I am not saying there are good reasons for boundaries, but for white collar work for good or bad they are disappearing.

One thing is that we focus on the new at the expense of the old. Segways replace biking. We prefer powered transport over self powered transport. The equation of power and time collide with efficiency. In the end we want richer lives, not more efficient ones. Our locomotion impacts our health, just as apparently our information mediums impact our learning.

I am happy to hear that there are dreamers looking for a new future, but let's make sure we don't reinvent the wheel.


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