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"We're getting worse at construction"

John Muggenborg for The New York Times

From Ezra Klein's recent piece in the NYTimes: "Here's something odd: we're getting worse at construction."

This rings true to me.

Spend long enough in design and construction, and you'll realize that it's not one or two things that are responsible for a decline in productivity, but the accumulation of a whole lot of things.

“I don’t know how you get 50 years of decline without having multiple problems,” said Austan Goolsbee and Chad Syverson in a paper quoted by the article.

It's like death by a thousand nicks.

Subsequently, there's no one big bandaid that's going to solve the problem.

There's no silver bullet.

As Dr. Atul Gawande says, “We always hope for the easy fix: the one simple change that will erase a problem in a stroke. But few things in life work this way. Instead, success requires making a hundred small steps go right - one after the other, no slipups, no goofs, everyone pitching in."

For those who want to read more, beyond the Klein article in the NYTimes, Brian Potter of Construction Physics is a great read and a must-follow for anyone concerned about improving the built environment.

At UrbanForm, we're well aware that UrbanForm alone is not going to completely solve the problem of construction productivity.

But we firmly believe that we're chipping away at one of the biggest obstacles towards productivity in design and construction. Accurate, efficient, and verifiable access to zoning information is just one of many obstacles, but it's a meaningful and valuable start. We wouldn't be doing it otherwise, and we feel we have the perspective, experience, and technological capability to do it better than anyone else.

And because of that, we're always excited to support and partner with others who are working on solving other obstacles. If that's you, reach out to us to have a conversation. We're always happy to chat.


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