A Shift in the Gestalt
I get a lot of press releases from construction industry trade groups. Most of them are of no direct use for either of the magazines I write for, but I feel obliged at least to skim each one to make sure. In the process, I absorb, almost subconsciously, something of the gestalt of the industry, a general sense of the shape of things. In the past several years, needless to say, the gestalt has been in the dumper. But lately things have taken a turn.
Here's the headline of a press release, dated April 29, from the American Society of Landscape Architects:
Business Significantly Improves for Landscape Architecture Firms, Survey Shows
Hiring highest since third quarter 2008; significant jump in inquiries for new work
Now, we can parse this in a number of ways. A significant improvement in the worst business climate in decades doesn't necessarily mean that business is actually good. Read down the page, and you'll learn also that nearly a quarter of the landscape architects surveyed report receiving federal stimulus funds.
But news that is even a little good beats news that is all bad, which is what we've had for way too long. Plus, gestalt is not about individual pieces of news; it's about an accumulation of data that yields a global picture. And in that regard, we do seem finally to have rounded a corner. --B.D.S.