What if we started using every construction project and improvement to our towns and cities across the globe, as an opportunities to create places where people feel connection, wonder, and hope?
Today on Ever Widening Circles (EWC) we want to take you on a little journey of possibility. We have an amazing TED Talk for you with one of the most renowned, creative people in the world: Daan Roosegaarde. He is merging technology and art into urban environments with delightful solutions that expand us all. Let’s dive in!
Have you heard about the growing surge in creative problem-solving that is being applied to infrastructure projects? It’s an amazing path that we are just starting to go down.
What if parks had 60% better air quality than the city around them? What if the power of human steps in crosswalks could power the traffic lights? What if waste could be funding its own removal?
Bottom line: What would our world start to look and feel like if creativity was the new “value added” part of every construction bid?
Before you answer that question with a “Yes, but… “, I’ve got a few examples of this kind of worldview. Most involve mixing concepts that no one ever thought to combine, or tossing out common “rules” at the start.
Do you know that many museums only display 5% of what they have stored away? Can we mix museums with general use public spaces? Here’s how that might look and feel:
Who’s to say that bridges have to be stationary, massive structures, many blocks apart. What if we had more pedestrian bridges that look like this?:
The bridge literally unrolls to span a narrow waterway. It is the famous Rolling Bridge in London: practical yet a bit wondrous!
And here’s a possibility that is just plain fun: imagine walking through a city that might have something that challenges your senses, like “The Dancing House” in Prague:
The creative solutions to some of our common challenges will be endless. And best of all, the skills to come up with all this innovation—creativity, critical thinking and complex problem-solving—are the very things that computers and robots are not good at! We will soon live in a world dominated by technology, but the very things that make us human will be even more valuable.
Not sure of that point?
Spend a few minutes with the effervescent thought leader Daan Roosegaarde.
So what’s keeping us from embracing this way of thinking?
Daan suggests our biggest hurdle is the “Yes, but…” sentiment.
How many times are we each responsible for interjecting that way of thinking into a conversation or problem-solving situation? I can imagine a world where, as citizens, voters, project leaders, teachers, board members, and decision makers, we listened less to the “Yes, but…” people and get more curious about the ideas a creative few might offer.
And how do we create more “idea people”, or become one ourselves? I’ll point you to one of the most important articles we’ve ever written. It contains some counter-intuitive insights that each of us can use every day as thought leaders ourselves:
What if we rewarded “makers”, ingenious thinkers, and people who explore ideas, instead of being afraid?
Maybe it’s all about this negative dialogue that seems to have taken hold of us; the notion that things are hopeless or getting worse by the day. If you’ve made it this far in this article, you probably are not letting those notions creep in very often. But you probably know plenty of people (often in positions of leadership) that are pretty down on the future.
So here’s more good news!
The numbers seem to tell us that the world is actually getting much better!
If you’d like to take the rest of your day with a spring in your step, let this next article be the antidote for the daily news:
I’ll close today’s article with a beautiful, short video from Studio Roosegaarde that will give you a sense of the wonder involved in projects like Daan (and others) are dreaming up for our futures. Here’s the Waterlicht project designed to engage people’s understanding of where the water levels would be in the Netherlands, were it not for their amazing system of dikes and engineering marvels.
Stay excited about the future. It’s going to be a wild and wonderful ride!
On spacecraft earth, there are no passengers. We are all crew. – Marshall McLuhan
The possibilities for inspiration are endless here at Ever Widening Circles! Thanks for spreading the word that we are here!
~ Dr. Lynda
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- Roosgaarde, Dan. “A Smog Vacuum Cleaner and Other Magical City Designs | Daan Roosegaarde.” YouTube. TED, 19 Sept. 2017. Web. 27 May 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVFYhbHpfqU>. ↩
- “WATERLICHT by Daan Roosegaarde in Museumplein Amsterdam [OFFICIAL MOVIE].” YouTube. Studioroosegaarde, 12 May 2015. Web. 27 May 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWzPm_ponkI>. ↩