Is it a trend or just a bright shiny new thing?

Many trends are not trends but just bright shiny new things that will flame out in a hurry. Think of the internet sensations that were toted as the latest trend but didn’t last a month. Now, when I say trend, I mean something that lasts beyond a few weeks or a couple of months and becomes part of everyday life. Often people mistake a large uptake in a short period of time (e.g. meme, viral clip) and then disappears.

When thinking about landscape architecture, there are many trends with the odd bright shiny new thing. Such as fireworks in renders, POV drone flythroughs of projects and similar ideas. Trends are often the embracing of technology such as LED lights, Video Screens, Sensors, Public Wi-Fi, Automated Irrigation and so on.

When we are evaluating an idea, trend or topic, we have to critically review it to determine if it is a trend or a new bright shiny thing. As landscape architects, our projects have a long life and including a new bright shiny thing can be an expense to clients and the environment if it is irrelevant or shortlived. Does the thing or trend add value to the project, and is it resilient or obsolescent in a short time?