Bozeman Development Part I
Is the rise of dense urban growth the death of the garage door, or merely the catalyst for the future of the high tech garage door? Is the urban growth that we are currently experiencing just the tip of the iceberg? Stay up to date with Bozeman Development @bozehome
Editor’s Note: This is a two-part series examining the role of the garage door in the modern Rocky Mountain West, and Bozeman Development.
Across the Mountain West in cities like Denver, Boulder, and Ft. Collins, the fate of the iconic and humble garage door is loud and clear. In the ever-changing urban centers across the West the age of the garage door is fading—much faster than you would think.
Now, there is no need to panic just yet. Large corporations happen to have a different view. In board rooms across the nation garage door executives are looking to offer a more advanced and intelligent “smart” garage door. They are already taking measures to cater to the more popular technology, and security features of the near future. As it happens the garage door lift just happens to hold all the cards in the evolution of the smart home.
So why is the modern gatekeeper of the home already looking to the horizon? It all starts when you let the smartphones decide where to dine.
Life in Bozeman – Our Unspoken Tradition
Having rather unhurriedly lived in Bozeman, Montana, for several decades now, we will begin this prognosis searching for the most authentic food that the Greater Denver area can dish up.
The food scene here in Bozeman has changed immensely over the past 6-7 years. Recently several new additions to our food scene have added to the once geographically isolated palate. On a recent trip to Denver, however, it’s Thai, Korean, BBQ, and the list goes on.
We know well that Amazon and Uber Eats have cultural limitations at this latitude. Adventurous? Wanderlust? Let’s browse a friend’s Instagram in LA, Chicago, Seattle and Portland. Does it look more like a bad episode of Bizarre Foods (editor’s note: our opinion is that all of the episodes are bad)? Or does it invoke jealousy? Remembering that ramen tweet that got away. That rabid Sushi envy that lasted for days. Most of the time we survive in culinary jealousy, outdoors however we do just fine.
“We will seek what we can’t find at home.” And while traveling far from Bozeman we go all in. Honestly the very minute we leave these majestic confines of Montana, we rush to eat, consume, shop, and buy anything that is not available to us where we live. Food is the one basic sacrifice to our paradise; the sole downside to the isolated environment we inhabit; the isolated environment that makes this place so great, so good.
So Let’s Eat
Fast-forward to a scene all too familiar. Five siblings and in-laws, simultaneously asking Google for the best Korean restaurant in the area. Little to no eye contact, our faces illuminated blue by the screens. A scene ironically similar to that very annoying ad that played repeatedly during the recently historic Chicago Cubs World Series Victory. “Siri, what is the best Korean restaurant in Boulder, Colorado.”
Instantly, it was apparent how our lives had become either that annoying, or easily marketable to advertisers. Either way there was a decision to be made and a restaurant chosen.
All cards on the table, I spend a lot of time in Montana working and playing and raising a family. Having lived in Montana for over 20 years with anything but a reliable cab service, I offer to drive. It is only just recently that the introduction of Uber to our state has allowed us the option of a reliable and affordable “peer economy” transportation. In Montana, we are just coming up to speed, and traveling from home shows exactly where we are comparatively.
In Denver and other major mountain metropolises (MMM’s), however, this has been the status quo for some time. Technology and apps have seamlessly transformed into a way of life. In the mountain city of today, there are less places to park the vehicle if, in fact, you choose to drive. Not to mention it is cold, bitterly cold, outside. The kind of cold that causes instant regret just opening the door.
Table reserved, and thanks to Uber the car is already warmed up. No child seats to move or Cheerios on the backseat floor. The car is clean and equipped with a smiling driver making a good living by “sharing.”
The Good Times + Bad Times of Technology and Urban Development
Is this economy changing the way we are living, building, communicating, and arguing on Facebook? You bet. As a nation we are experiencing higher levels of generational separation, and political separation. Media outlets are capitalizing on our differences and hoping we get mad, click like, click angry face, or share. Is this due to technology, and the rapid change we are facing?
Ask yourself—am I unwilling or just too old-school to envision embracing this urban-technology-based life? What is this life offering us, really? The unique but homogenized Dwell Magazine version of the bespoke everything. Chasing the Pinterst illusion? The modern workout facility, tanning bed, common/game area, and gourmet cereal bar (that is a thing). Is this an real-life domicile, or a tech startup headquarters, or have the lines now been blurred to create something new?
Technology has only just begun to open up new doors to a world that is much more efficient and less vehicle-centric. Everything included by program and excluded by building codes. Minimal on-site parking, maximum neighborhood tension. Is this world preparing for a driverless car, shared car, no car, with far more options and freedom?
Will global macro-economies and technologies dictate a world less attached to our cars and more attached to our phones.
The New Economy 2.0
Today the peer economies are allowing dense urban centers and economies to expand rapidly during this economic boom. Similar to what we in the Bozeman and the greater Gallatin Valley are currently experiencing. Across the Mountain West, housing consumers (both buyers and renters) are calling for a much more concentrated existence. Less garage doors, increased densities and urban infill. More efficiency, sharing, and getting along than any generation before.
The flip-side of that coin: When economic conditions tank, we traditionally see more spread, more sprawl, and disbursement in development across these areas. More acres, a little more lawn to piss on, and more garage doors. The cheap land costs allowing us to spread our wings a little more. More secluded and resilient, with happy dogs.
Now let’s look to a country that once built a wall to keep people out (too soon?): China today. Dense manufacturing centers are starting to close down. The migrant workers are returning to a rural agrarian lifestyle to survive.
Don’t like density? One solution is too tank your local and macro economies.
Here, we are quick to pounce down on the “greedy developers of this world, only motivated by profit and greed.” We need to understand the greater need they are providing to their consumers. A need that is desired by some generations more than others. It is impossible to sell a commodity that nobody is buying.
Peace Sells, but Who’s Buying
What is this new Bozeman, and the future of the Mountain West? Are condos, townhomes, and higher-density apartment developments the saturation-fix needed? Can we fix the true cause (housing unit supply #’s) of the affordability housing crisis, and promote healthy/vibrant neighborhoods?
Do the numbers show the majority of millennials prefer to live in a compact, brownstone-style walk-ups, townhomes, and condos across the West? Is little-to-no yard and living close to the luxury of delicious coffee downtown the new cat’s meow?
- Does it matter anymore if you prefer to not rely on a car for every necessity of the day?
- Is the car, and therefore the garage, a luxury lifestyle decision some residents choose not to make?
- Should the car require any further subsidized assistance or mandates from a local government authority?
Future economies and lifestyles are historically impossible to predict for good reason. In both the investment markets and municipal planning realm, there is great money to be made—and saved—by being historically correct. -B/H
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Article + Photography | Nolan S. Campbell
Founder & Curator Bozehome, and is a licensed Realtor with PureWest Christie’s International Real Estate– Specializing in environmentally friendly multi-family and commercial real estate investments and development, with an emphasis on urban renewal and affordable housing.
Contact BozeHome at (406) 209-2386, or email the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.