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September 25, 2011 | by  | in Features |
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We should be building awesome things

Wellington’s waterfront is pretty cool. There are places where you can’t help but think that whoever designed it had nothing else in mind but pure enjoyment. There’s a walkway that does little else but take you a bit closer to the water. There are snippets of poetry carved from stone, a wind wand, an eccentric statue in an iconic pose, and a diving board. In all objectivity, it’s a bit awesome.

 I know that is possibly the most overused word of the last two years, but it sums up fairly succinctly the concept I’m trying to put across. A concept that we could do with a lot more of. Our world is full of innovations and constructions to make us feel more comfortable, relaxed—to make everyday life easier and, to be perfectly honest, a little bit bland. There’s not much around today that really has the potential to overwhelm us with awe. Nothing to make us grin and giggle uncontrollably just because it’s there. That is exactly what we’re missing.

 Wouldn’t it be great if the world we live in wasn’t full of dreary quasi-mature office buildings and occasional abstract sculptures of steel and glass, but things our eleven-year-old selves could glimpse and be genuinely excited about the future. It’s childish, yes, but that’s the entire point. Sometimes, the kids are all, every last one of them, right—they’re using their imaginations, and isn’t that what we pay “creative-types” the big bucks for? If a child’s vision of the world could be implemented by adults with some technical expertise behind them, there would be some seriously awesome changes around here. Something better than a Wellywood sign.

 The possibilities are endless with the technology in this day and age. Dubai’s skyline has shown us what can happen with a bit of positive attitude, and Japan made the most of a cultural knack for awesome with an indoor beach. Auckland’s even got an indoor ski slope. But why can’t we take it further? How about a public waterslide that goes on a hundred metres? Or a statue of a sword, so high that it’s cutting through clouds, just for the hell of it? Who knows what we could dream up, if money was no object.

 And that, I suppose, is the one big hurdle to my dream. The bottom line. I don’t have to point out that money’s a little bit tight at the moment. There are problems that are going to take time and a lot of money to solve, and critics of awesomeness would quite rightly argue that they need our attention before we look to building a Futurama-style compressed-air-tube mass transit system. But why can’t we have both? There’s material for endless debates on the related politics and economics, but there’s something I wish the great minds would take into account. Instead of worrying and committeeing and thinking of a million reasons not to do something cool, why can’t we focus on reasons why we should?

 Look what happened to Auckland. They had the chance to build a central-city waterfront stadium, which would have been a step in the awesome direction. Instead, they decided it would make the CBD too noisy on game days, and refurbished Eden Park instead—far from awesome. 

Why not put aside a special fund for building awesome things. Some of the money could come from the lottery, or donations from people who’d love to see a fifty-square-metre public ballpit in Central Wellington. It’s not about anyone making money: it’s working for the public good. And since it’s creating construction jobs, the government can happily sign on with their support—they’ve contributed to far less worthy causes in the past.

 Life should be an adventure—not an exercise in drabness and uniformity. Stop whining. Care a little less about money, and a little more about giant foam sword arenas. There is a library in Kansas City shaped like a stack of books—how cool is that? We have the technology, the know-how, the imagination: let’s build awesome things!

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  1. Miguel says:

    Hi Cas,Hope youre having fun.Couldnt fail to see the referewnce to Israel….Where are you, India or Jordan!!Love you Cas, have a ball!!!Lee & Lin

  2. Armena says:

    If you want to get read, this is how you shluod write.

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