Technology’s ultimate goal is to be ubiquitous and invisible at the same time. Technology interacts with the physical world more every day, embedding itself into objects big and small. As it becomes invisible, beneath the surface, it also fundamentally changes our relationship with the real world.
To cure a sickness, one must study its cause and the pattern in which it unfolds. As we approach the age of turbulence, we must look at mediums that exhibit similar traits and explore ways to remediate the trauma cased by uncertainty, intensified cycles and ever more complicated inter-relationships. One such petridish is a typology where all of us are spending more time these days, and not by our own volition: the airport.
Movies often give us a glimpse of the shape of things to come. If the latest installment of the Star Trek enterprise is even a remote precurosr, the future, I am afraid is terribly sterile, cold and inhumane. London, depicted in the 23rd century as a sprawling megalopolis is littered with glass clad towers jutting into the stratosphere, each more twisted and gravity defying than its neighbor.
The United States has a continuous history of development based on exploration and settlement of new frontiers. From the early settlers, the westward expansion and even post World War II suburban growth, settlements have always been guided by the belief that somewhere out there exists a new frontier where the fulfillment of the American Dream is within grasp. The pioneers that have settled these frontiers have been ordinary men, women and children who were moved by curiosity and the desire to improve their own lives and those of their progeny. This trait has not withered with time.
Even today, as we look around, we see countless families looking for ways to become a part of an upward middle class. Where lies their frontier?
Getting the little things right
The primary type of public space in the United States is the street. It has been the long-standing breadwinner for our economies in providing that rich exchange between customers and merchants, ideas and entrepreneurs, and people and another. Streets are not static or, like our cities themselves, ever complete. They begin as an idea about creating access and value to land and grow from there. They continue to evolve as the enabler of great urban life. At that exact point where the value creation happens--the building face--is the most energetic. Like creeks and rivers, these contact points with the "shore" create eddies of activity. As our streets became laden with faster and larger vehicles, we zoned that activity into a separate space: the sidewalk.