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Urban Nomads

Bedouin WorkshopOne of my first posts at UrbanWorkbench was "Meet Mike the Semi-Nomadic Engineer". In that post, while living in Urbanized Newcastle, NSW, I described the way in which I as a professional engineer was able to enjoy the sites and sounds of the city while working on design projects. The term Urban Nomad is still being used a year and a half later…

Nomads at last | Economist.com

Urban nomads have started appearing only in the past few years. Like their antecedents in the desert, they are defined not by what they carry but by what they leave behind, knowing that the environment will provide it. Thus, Bedouins do not carry their own water, because they know where the oases are. Modern nomads carry almost no paper because they access their documents on their laptop computers, mobile phones or online.
Increasingly, they don’t even bring laptops. Many engineers at Google, the leading internet company and a magnet for nomads, travel with only a BlackBerry, iPhone or other “smart phone”. If ever the need arises for a large keyboard and some earnest typing, they sit down in front of the nearest available computer anywhere in the world, open its web browser and access all their documents online.

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The article even gets into some philosophy regarding technology….

The most wonderful thing about mobile technology today is that consumers can increasingly forget about how it works and simply take advantage of it. As Ms Canlas sips her Americano and dives into her e-mail in-box at the Nomad Café, she gives no thought to the specifications and standards that make her connection possible. It is the human connections that now take over. Since humans, as Sigmund Freud put it, must arbeiten und lieben, work and love, in order to find fulfilment, this report will start off by examining how they will work.

Living in the Kootenays there is less need to be an Urban Nomad, things are rarely as stressful or busy as in the big smoke. However, there are also less opportunities to be an Urban Nomad, with less wifi, fewer coffee shops, and even fewer that serve good coffee.

Ahh, the sacrifices we make for lifestyle.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.