Aside from fun and profit, what do we gain from future histories?

DAS: Well, what you gain is — the future is both predictable and unpredictable. There are some waves that are slow and predictable: the aging of America, the ethnic diversification of America, to take two examples. And then there are some that are discontinuous, and the nature of discontinuities is, not only can you not control them, you have to live with their consequences. And the city forms out of that mixture of the slow and the fast. . . . The texture of Future Boston is this mixture of the big and the small. That, I think, is the takeaway: the future always has more past legacy and more complexity and more messiness than any single mind will create.

S.I. Rosenbaum can be reached at srosenbaum@phx.com.

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