Some Flourished, some did not.


Some Flourished, some did not.

I’m trying to write a piece about the future, and have erased it three times. They were filled with cliche’s, references to “1984” and the fact that my father was 20 before he saw his first airplane and lived to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

Things change, and the time it takes them to change is becoming more compressed every day. Technology begets technology at an ever increasing rate. When I bought my first lap top less than 20 years ago, my concern was 32k or 64k. Now I hold a memory chip in my hand the size of a postage stamp and it has 32 gigabytes in it. And that’s the small one.

So what?

We take all this for granted but do we need to consider what will most likely be happening in 30 or 40 years.  Why should we care?  Most of us won’t be around then anyway.

But the projects we start today will be. Parking garages have a life of 50 years. They funding (read that mortgage) is usually 30 years or more. Public Private Partnerships are running 50, 75, or 99 years. Should we not concern ourselves that we are making decisions that have a life maybe longer than the market or demographic will support them.

When things moved slowly, we probably didn’t care a lot. However when things change at light speed, perhaps sitting back and taking a long view is the right way to go.

We have two articles in PT’s upcoming July Issue, one by Mary Smith and one by David Feehan that speak to this topic. They have similar themes, Mary is a tad  academic and David philosophical, but the result is the same. The face of our industry may be entirely different in a generation. Or less.

Read their stuff. Consider what it means when you sign that next long term contract or build a new facility that has a life time of just 50 years.

I like to sit on my back deck in the evening and watch the hummingbirds and listen to those noisy parrots screech overhead while the city noise is a few blocks away. However my grand children seem to want to move back into the city, live cheek by jowl, and walk everywhere.

If they do, and cars become sort of automatic critters that pick us up and drop us off at will, how does that affect parking?

The buggy whip makers that learned how to repair flat tires and fill cars with gas survived and flourished, the ones who fought the tide, did not.

Think about it.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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