George Huber: Gainesville's future: Faster

Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 2:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 2:08 p.m.

The Sun's Jan. 11 story "Approved 16th/23 Ave Traffic Plan" reports County Commissioner Mike Byerly's helpful time frame, noting it's the future not the past. Most of us have lived with the mind set of the past as prologue (Shakespeare's "Tempest," loosely interpreted). The future envisioned is for a multi-modal-facility for variegated vehicular use. A 50-year commitment warrants the heated exchanges. Five decades help some create a mental map through which to focus on the complexity of this project as time passes.

Given that duration consider essential trends:

1. The future must be faster than the past. The need to be present at routinely planned activities sooner: Children for school, employees to work assignments, professionals to appointments etc., is a must. Any design that fails this stress test will prove disappointing.

2. The old fossil fuel mode of transport will most likely, and hopefully, be a relic of the past in less than 50 years. Energy corporations' constraints retain a structure preventing the creation of greater opportunities, many yet to be imagined. Energy may prove to be our least expensive and most abundant resource in that future.

3. Accelerated rate of change on all fronts, now the norm: Shifting from the traditional linear to the exponential is here. The pace is dizzying. Planners must discover and utilize models that will become less predictable, conventionally. Even communication will embody more of a Twitter trait than traditional prose. It lends itself to transmitting thoughts, in process. Keep in mind its a half-century in the making.

Challenges are exciting and opportunities unlimited. The brightest and best of our young minds are called to join this pursuit. Their ideas are not as encumbered with the limitations of our more encrusted traditions. As Commissioner Byerly admonishes, it's the future not the past!

George Huber,


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