At a lecture at USC a couple years ago, I brought up the notion that buildings, like all products of technology, are inherently dated from inception. Buildings get “plugged in” to their urban infrastructure and are required to network and be good neighbors with whomever they are adjacent to.
As we’ve learned with urban development, most often our city’s hard drives cannot be wiped clean and begun anew. We must always consider what technology has come before us, what languages they were programmed in; the fact that others may no longer be capable of downloading new software to have fast improvements. Hardware is difficult to replace so facelifts in the form of new screen protectors for our facades or add-on battery backups in the form of renewable energy generators must be accommodated. Older buildings are inherently slower, have sometimes bad connections and often drop calls.
As urban planners, architects, politicians and community members, we need to be respectful of all ages of building technology and meanwhile plan for, and design for, a connection with the next generation of infrastructure.