You start with a building a wooden hut. A single room, but with a roof and an entrance. It’s enough to provide shelter and warmth for you. You can cook, sleep, gather and can reference it in the landscape.
It’s not bad but actually at night it’s not too safe. You want to mark out what land you take care of. So you build a wall. In wood again, because it’s available and you know how to work with it. So the fence is up quickly.
It does for a while, but soon one room isn’t quite enough. So you build another room. A neighbour has started to help you out so they need a hut too. The wild boars rub their tusks against it every night so you’re regularly having to replace parts. Bit by bit, you find some stone and replace the wall. Expanding your boundary line as you build.
Moving with the times
As time moves on, so do the materials available. One day you discover metal. It’s stronger than the wood but harder to work with. It’s great for strengthening the wood. Your hut it getting pretty fancy now. Wide window openings, a door, even a fireplace, but it’s never finished.
New technologies come along and help you to constantly improve, change and grow your space. It needs foundations, reinforcement, the wall needs expanding. More people come along and new spaces to get together, to look after others, to work are needed. The group of huts grow to a village, which grows to a town. Eventually turning into a massive, buzzing city. With a network of connected routes to easily move between the spaces. Constantly evolving around the way we need to use the spaces around us. While continuously improving the efficiency of the spaces we are in.
Agile takes time
Cities are living embodiments of how civilisation develops in an agile way. It’s not about new and changing the old ways. It’s about adapting and accepting. Utilising what’s working and replacing what’s not. Agile isn’t about a quick fix, it’s a long term evolution that, like cities, never ends. It does mean, however, that we can make small constant tweaks and changes that might seem unseen to the whole picture but together have a huge impact.
Not a thing you buy
Agile isn’t a thing you just buy as if it were a new technology and expect to make things better. It’s a way of being flexible to change in a way that works with what you have around you and what you need.