Wake up and live. Fix it. Clean. - by David Kirk

April 08, 2022 - Appraisal & Consulting
David Kirk

Infrastructure is the only way to provide a safe and strong and connected built environment to serve all of our constituencies. For the comfort and well-being of our communities, we must focus on the changing environment and the new behaviors and demographics as they evolve, and we observe them. Readiness is as important as enhanced services and updated HVAC systems. Energy efficiency and carbon neutrality. Materials, machines and technology will help us get there.

The headwinds of the costs of upgrades in meeting the current compelling demand is less forgiving today than historic pivots. Rationing is short term. Phasing, still a tactic, is less an option on both marginal upgrades and magic retrofits. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) demonstrated the wherewithal of stewards of the built environment. Accessibility for an extraordinarily able and significant cohort of humanity. Climate change, COVID and behavioral shifts and pivots are big and costly challenges that demand contemporary action. Obsolescence, physical and functional, is a raging bull, fiercer and more rambunctious than the limits of the bullring or the streets of Spain.

Remember the extra COVID overlay of precautions and services and protocols. Do not trash. Do not turn the page. They are all parts of hospitality, hygiene and wellness. Now add climate change. As stewards of the built environment, we must adapt to better buildings. We dragged a bit as we prepared for ADA and we did it. Now, with the graying of Americans, we have a growing aged cohort with all of age appropriate degradation of senses and body. Healthcare and wellness is an obligation of our stewardship and will shape our built environment. Strong responses will resolve a panoply of disconnects.

The lexicon for stewardship of the built environment is bright and lively. Making living and working a pleasure is a charge. Not a change, a charge. Because of accelerating technological changes, the outreach in communication and services has become infrastructure. And the roads should be built and maintained. Unthinkabilities. Taming the wild. Public bathrooms for all. Benches. Hot-spots. Charging telephonic stations. For safety, security, comfort and wellness. Shelters and benches. Mobility.

In addition to generators, lifts, retention ponds, cisterns, pedestrian and bikeways, outdoor furniture, games and sculpture. All for human scale without any rule of thumb allowances which were eroded long ago. A ramble with redundancy and resonance, without priorities or disaggregating. A steward’s plate. And we are dealing. More alliances, conspiracies, mediation, than usual. Competition is healthy. Liquidity strong. Just a lot to do and a lot to spend.

Costs of labor, materials and machines will increase the value of the built environment. And the rising interest rates rippling from Federal Reserve FOMC ongoing rate increases in interbank lending. And inflation will sustain the investment appeal of the built environment, accordingly. The waves of the pandemic and the ramping of a variety of natural disasters have highlighted the ongoing essential role of stewardship of the built environment which has soft borders. We are the frontlines. We have responded and know the reality of these matters on the built environment.

Powerful data dump of meeting the market, and beating the competition, and meeting the challenge. Wake up and live. Fix it. Clean.

David Kirk is founder, chief executive officer of Kirk & Company, Real Estate Counselors of Boston, Mass.



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