Our near future is perhaps who we are now, extended somewhat into the long run.
Who we are has already been determined by whom we were.
In a sense, our present will become something of the past for those who will move into the future. Therefore, we must always be sensitive to the past as we are always becoming more of it, seemingly tipping more toward becoming part of the past than the future.
And "modernity" becomes that sensitive organic bridge between the two
We tend to measure human progress on a straight line. And we think that we can separate that line into zones. The past extended to one end. Our present life is usually placed in the middle zone and at the other end is that unknown zone of the future into which we tend to gradually extend ourselves. .
Progress is often seen as “redevelopment,” a process of renewing, whether it is physical redevelopment or governmental and social renewal. “Redevelopment” is a term more often used here in the “new world” than it is in Europe for example. Renew carrys with the connotation of of making new again. In this way we superimpose our present selves onto the past that still remains in place.
Wherever European cities have torn into parts of themselves and especially into the oldest parts of cities, they found that they had to be respectful of the past and even emphasize it.
Most of us do not visit Europe for its modernity which we expect, but really to compare the manner in which modernity has fitted itself into its past.
At a lessor scale, here in Shorewood for example, we tend not to associate what we do now with the past. The past is closer to our consciousness when we seek it out as we've done recently in our plans to “redevelop” Atwater Beach.
It seems that the manner in which we use our modernity to restore or “redevelop” Atwater Beach, emphasizing its past is the real measure of how successful we'll be with its “redevelopment.” So we are in a sense designing the past into the future.
On the other hand the extension of the past into the future, disregarding the progressive nature of human beings, as we do when rebuilding, we are also in a sense diminishing that progress.
Rather than converting the Capitol Drive-Oakland Avenue intersection into the town center of our village, providing us with a heart, we instead chose to bring in highway modernities, unrelated to our underlying history of the sort of center once there, in reality or in perception.
Here the history and authority of highway conflicts with the traditional and the organic need for town center. And we are dazzled by the shining technological objects which obviously give the essence and seemingly the sense of priority rather than serving as the instruments of integration.
This of course results in improving artificial movement, car movement, but at the expense of human moment, pedestrians, further creating physical splits in the community.
The justifications offered for incorrect decisions usually are the financial costs. Funding can easily become a significant interference with the smooth passage of past into our present..
The cost of improper development, the result of this insensitivity to current need and to past and somewhat to future will eventually translate into greater cost. The misapplication of “modernity” becomes a serious cost to the future.