Are you a thermometer or thermostat?
As a developer or someone who works to create lasting places, this is a good question to consider.
If you're a thermometer, you can accurately gauge the "temperature" for your development. You read what's happening around you in your city, the culture at large, and you develop your project to meet those desires. Your challenge is that the temperature can change quickly. Do you have a plan to adapt when it does?
If you're a thermostat, though, it's a different ballgame. It's your job to set the temperature. While thermostat developers and leaders must be able to read today's temperature, it's more important that you can envision what people, culture and cities are going to need in the future.
While some may think reading the temperature is easy. There's no doubt that setting it is much harder.
Of course, this is where we tell you that this is what we do. In fact, it's our job to be both. We have methods for measuring what's important today, but we're best at helping you set the stage for what's next. Part of how we do this is by being insatiably curious and traveling, reading, listening, and watching what else is happing around the world.
To fuel our minds, here are our top 3 sources:
OK, if you want to feel like you're part of a global network of cool kids, check out Monocle. Their printed magazine is always thick with thought provoking stuff, but we think their podcasts are where the real gold can be found. This is much more of a lifestyle approach, which means they have stores, music, fashion and, of course, colognes.
The Atlantic Magazine publishes CityLab, a website with a great daily email that investigates some of the most interesting issues and challenges facing cities, developers and those of us who serve the industry. Great stuff to read here. You can sign up for emails at the bottom of their homepage here.
Urban Land Institute: ULI is an organization that is always pushing the boundaries and working to give planners, developers and people like us the latest in urban and suburban development. We are members here in Kansas City, and if you're interested, you should join us.