How To Be Inspired By The Past In The Innovation Era

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The last 100-150 years have brought about an enormous amount of innovation. It is in every aspect of our lives, from movement to communication, from food to information. I cannot even find the words to explain to my grandmother what an iPhone is and how it works!

Obviously, the easy access to anything and anyone in the world, which has now become our way of life, is one of the advantages of all these breakthroughs. Marshall McLuhan, a great Canadian communications thinker of the 20th century, called it the global village. We can talk to people in other countries as if they were right in front of us. We can eat many different foods from all over the world because we are able to find them in our grocery stores. We can also learn from others just as much as we can help and teach them about our lessons learned and best practices.

But we also have to realize that there are some downsides to innovation. Yes, there are also some disadvantages to our technological innovation. For example, the ozone layer’s hole and global warming have made us question some of the activities that have become common and natural to us without even thinking about them and their consequences.

If we now look at what is coming up in terms of trends and what people are starting to do, we can see that there is a certain tendency to look at how things were done before all these innovations became part of our lives and to go back to them. A few examples of this are local food baskets, where baskets of local seasonal fruits and vegetables are delivered to the person’s house. There is also the use of bicycles in the cities and the redesign of the cities to be more pedestrian friendly.

After 100 years of developing the cities in one fashion, there will be a lot of remnants of old infrastructures. One idea in order to reuse and redevelop these areas is to use a minimal amount of money and to reassign how it is used. Watch the video available through the link below. It describes how the areas under overpasses can be redesigned as parks, old train stations as restaurants and street parking lots as “paklets” (“paklets” are mini parks flush with trees, plants, chairs, and tables that give wary urbanites a place to rest and recuperate).

Another example is relooking at how people used to use moonlight as light and reapply that to the way it should be used today. This is quite well described in the Illinois lighting Website (see the link below). One of the points is that the lighting levels that are now proscribed do not take into account the light that comes from the use of the area and that ideally, this should be at least considered.

I personally think that the idea is not to go back to how it used to be, but to use the advantages of everything that is now possible to us, all the while learning from the lessons that our planet has given us over the course of our lifetime.

Video: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1664082/a-primer-on-turning-city-blight-into-beauty-video.

Illinois lighting Website: http://www.illinoislighting.org/moonlight.html.

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