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Imagining the way things could be

Photograph Old in new by Andrew Johnston on 500px

Old in new by Andrew Johnston on 500px

I was out for lunch with a colleague of mine yesterday afternoon and he said to me: “Brandon, I’m really surprised that you’re so interested in technology. It just seems so different compared to real estate and architecture.”

And I’ve certainly heard that exact same comment from a number of people before. But I don’t see it that way and here are a few reasons why.

The common thread for me between architecture, real estate development, and technology is that in all of these cases it is about imagining the way things could be in the future and then creating it. It’s about change. It’s about growth. It’s about creation. And I consider myself a builder in practically every sense of the word.

At the same time, each of these disciplines is about creating engaging spaces for people. Architects and real estate developers do it in the physical world, but many technology products strive to do exactly the same thing in the online world.

In fact, a couple of years ago I was fascinated to learn that Facebook has and continues to draw inspiration from many of the same books and philosophies that architects, planners, and developers rely on when it comes to creating engaging communities. The medium might be different, but it’s still about people.

Finally, as I’ve said many times before here on Architect This City, I think that the distinction between tech and non-tech companies and industries is quickly evaporating. Is Airbnb a tech company or a hospitality company? Is Uber a tech company or a taxi company? Pretty soon we’ll be saying that about many other industries.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always been interested in wading through the overlaps between disciplines, but this is just the way I see it.

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