Exhibition booths are nowadays assembled from panels that include artificial floors. Renting tents is a big business. Welcome to the end of permanency.
Such mobile and non-permanent structures reduce costs and increase flexibility. You can have such booths anywhere even on parking, play fields or any unbuild place. And they now come with sanitary facilities!
What’s driving this impermanency?
The shortage of open spaces demands more creativity and innovation. Add the availability of cheap materials like plastics for panels and floors.
Tents are easy to fabricate from cloth or even plastic. The metal frame is even easier.
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Transporting the building materials is cheaper too. The military pioneered the use of temporary structures because of mobility.
Let‘s add the fine weather that requires no heating or cooling of the structure. Think of a tent in the middle of the winter or hot and humid summer. Extreme weathers force us to innovate. Is that why few innovations originate in the tropics?
While in public events we prefer temporary structures, in residential and offices we prefer permanent structures. Status and insecurity drive that. Owning a permanent house is a sign of high status.
They are also more secure, not from Sabre-toothed Tiger but from fellow men. While temporary structures are cheap, offices and houses have become more expensive.
One way to reduce the cost of housing is to improve security. We shall use cheaper materials. After all, we live in the tropics.
Permanent structures become a problem when you want to change their use or even sell them.
Noted how hotels suffered after Covid-19 because of that inflexibility? Even inheritance becomes a problem. How do share your big house after death beyond selling and sharing money?
Let’s be sincere; permanency is relative. Some houses were built by mzungu in the happy valley, Nyandarua County has mud walls and has been there for more than 100 years old.
It’s a philosophical question of why we are so tied to permanency when our own lives are temporary.
Should we not focus on what works like the tents and exhibition booths? Why can’t we extend the same concept to our homes and offices?