The Tides of Change

two toddlers at a lemonade stand

Katherine flew to Oregon this morning to visit an out-of-state friend who works in a coffee shop. This week-long trip was intended to be a restful vacation. Kat often longs for a simpler lifestyle, and the visit was supposed to be a total break. Ironically, Kat’s workload increased dramatically right before she left. Now, Kat plans to work remotely using the coffee shop as her office for a week. Her cell phone has an app to make it appear that her calls come from the office, and her computer is equipped with the software to allow her to do her job as long as she has WiFi. As soon as she arrives at the coffee shop, she’ll join in on a company team meeting via conference call. Her one saving grace is that her friend’s house has no internet.

Have you noticed how few things are constant anymore? The way we do work and personal life today is vastly different from the way we did it even 10 years ago, and the game rules are still rapidly changing. It’s been said that if you pick any year in this new millennium so far, the technological advances that were made in that one year outnumber those made in any hundred-year span in the last millennium. While these changes bring many positive outcomes, even the most gadget-loving person can feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the expectations and responsibilities that are created by those advances.

But, like it or not, change is here to stay. How we choose to deal with change will play a critical role in determining our future. Limited thinking will likely equate to limited opportunity.

Refusing to accept predefined limits, Baca Architects has created an idea that actually capitalizes on change. Later this year, they’ll be building a home on the banks of the River Thames that will rest on fixed foundations until floods arrive. Then, “the entire structure will rise with the water but stay tethered.”

Another company that has not limited its thinking is Waterstudio.NL, an aqua-architectural firm in the Netherlands. As global sea levels continue to rise, “higher water makes for more severe storm surges, floods and land loss. With many of the world’s largest cities located on coastal estuaries, high and dry urban land will become an increasingly rare commodity. Cue a renewed look at floating architecture.” (Click here to see their ingenious plan and other recent examples of floating architecture.)

It reminds me of a saying: If you’re given lemons, make lemonade. What will you drink today?

By Marcianne Kuethen ©Amtec 5/30/2012
“Floating Architecture: Finding Ways to Live with Rising Water” originally published by pbs.org by Saskia de Melker.

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