OSPF (Open Shortest Path First)
Years ago while I was still searching for a future career, I took my MCSE or Microsoft Certified System Engineering course. My aptitude for programming and networking must have been an extremely hidden talent and I realized quickly that computers and software engineering wasn’t my God given strength. While I didn’t follow a path in computers it is where I picked up the life lesson of OSPF or Open Shortest Path First. I still use this principle even if it is not applied to networking computers.
OSPF is a networking term when sending bits of information from one point to another. Rather than sending to a direct route, the information is essentially instructed to find the first open path available. In real terms, it would be like finding a detoured route if the main road were closed for repair.
How does this term apply to redevelopment or anything else for that matter? For any goal there are hurdles that must be crossed in order to achieve an end result. Think about the path the original pioneers took as they traveled west. The ones who succeeded knew to take the Oregon Trail through the mountains and from there into Oregon. There were shorter more direct paths, but the terrain and other uncertain conditions to get there always prevented them from reaching their destination on time or at all. The ones who succeeded used the proven path thereby eliminating as many risky conditions as possible in order to achieve the passage with the greatest chance of arriving at the destination. For these groups, their success was getting to Oregon before winter set in.
Redevelopment has its similarities to following the Oregon Trail. Those w grandiose dreams, big payoffs and quick shortcuts are at the mercy of the numerous shortfalls and unknowns that exists anytime a path needs charting. Unfortunately without following the open shortest path first, these big ideas may turn to tragedy because the biggest ideas or shortest paths aren’t always the best. The open shortest path first in redevelopment is all about finding a way to get to the finish line. It might take a little longer, the result might be not as grandiose, but the hurdles along the way are fewer and the chances of getting product built, finding a dynamic new downtown resident or renovating a historic building are greater.
OSPF was designed to allow information to find the path with the least chance of failure. This theory applies when sending packets of information between two computers, when searching for a quick, but safe path to Oregon or when working to revitalize a historic downtown. Big ideas are great, but without following the shortest most open path, the chances to succeed greatly diminish and when success is measured only by reaching a destination the open shortest path first is our best bet!