PLACEMAKER: how do we inter-connect corporate spaces and public spaces?

by Paul Carder on July 5, 2014

By Paul Carder: @paulcarder & @WorkAndPlace

This article caught my imagination: http://www.citylab.com/design/2014/06/who-really-owns-public-spaces/373612/

Mid-way through it says, “The AIA New York exhibit attempts to make sense of its subject by organizing public space into three basic categories: congregation, circulation, and contemplation.”

Again I’m thinking, corporate workplace (inside the ‘office’), however great the design and workplace management, is just one part of the experience of work….unless one commutes to and from the office with ears, eyes and nose covered, and then stays indoors all day!

And then, of course (as earlier blogs have described) many people choose not to travel to the office at all (or at least, less often). They are likely to be already benefiting from public spaces, opening out from cafes and other places where they have chosen to work.

Now, I have to focus! – I’m primarily interested in work and place. So what does this have to do with public spaces?
The last issue of @WorkAndPlace had quite a bit to say on this subject, especially Dr Andrew Laing: “the emerging workplace is urban”, and Simon Allford’s feature where he describes bringing the city in off the pavement/sidewalk and into the office, and much more. Both fascinating reads.

A re-definition of #workplace is clearly needed – which is why we chose “Work & Place”, separating the two words.

Corporate organisations need their people to be motivated, healthy, engaged and productive (or creative, or whatever they are measured on). Organisations need every bit of extra performance, however it may be originated.

Public spaces – the city itself (or the town, for smaller locations) – the urban environment – must be an influence on how people feel, their daily experience. And that must, assuming it is a good experience of course, have an impact on health and happiness, motivation, engagement in work, and ultimately outputs.

What would be the difference in work experience, engagement and output, between (say) the same office design and management – but in different public settings? A buzzy, urban setting with almost limitless opportunities for public spaces, cafes, bars, restaurants, galleries, etc.
Or a semi-private campus: purpose designed and managed, with its own facilities (though not as plentiful as the city, perhaps).
What about the organisation that has not considered this at all, and has the same office (inside) but on a soul-less business park, with a petrol filling station nearby for people to walk out and get a poor-quality sandwich, and scuttle back to their desk to eat it?

This must make a big difference….in fact, I know it does, as I have had the pleasure (and misfortune) of working in all of these settings over 20 years!
But, has anyone studied the effects……? Have you……?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rudd July 7, 2014 at 7:18 am

Hi Paul,
We really need to see how we can set up cross posting with LinkedIn.
Regards,
Rudd

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