Future of Work and Cities [Newsweek]

Hok-future-of-work

Recently, Newsweek asked three well-known architecture firms to explain what cities will look like in 2030.  Using New York City as the location, these firms — HOK; Cooper, Robertson & Partners; and Richard Meier & Partners — responded to the hypothetical with The Future of Work and other musings as to how we will work, live, interact, and move around in 20 years. 

Richard Meier & Partners expects abundant green space, enhanced public transportation, and expanded waterfront parks. 

Cooper, Robertson & Partners anticipates that unused waterfront areas and rail yards will become new neighborhoods, while small and large scale transportation networks will flourish with everything from bike share to light rail networks.   

HOK envisions a future of "self-contained, self-sufficient buildings" as ecosystems capped with micro wind turbines, covered in self-cleaning facades, and embedded with technology to utilize solar power.  In 2030, personal mobility will be enhanced, too. 

At the same time, the Future of Work may not require separate spaces for home and work as technology facilitates new and more flexible opportunities going forward. 

Like the House of the Future, it's hard to make a long-term prediction, and 20 years is a lot of time.  In the past 20 years, we've seen the rise of the internet, an acceptance of clean technology, and a focus on green building. 

What do you think we'll see in the future of work?

Media credit: HOK. 


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  • Anonymous

    I think most of these types of studies grossly underestimate the role of existing buildings and the challenge they alone represent. Its almost lazy to base projections on the luxury of starting from scratch. That is, assuming that we will have the luxury of building new buildings without addressing the ones we already have and demolishing existing structures presents concerns/challenges as well. That being said, these studies are a necessary exercise if for nothing else than a feasibility study or bounding analysis.

    • Anonymous

      Well said. It is very rare to see futuristic city designs with existing buildings in them.

      Though I wonder if this exercise is at times used to showcase the designs of the architecture firms, and so they leave out existing buildings.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed. But then, how good is a design if it doesn’t incorporate the various elements around it? Such designs are more monument and art than architecture and design.

  • http://progressivetimes.wordpress.com T. Caine

    I cannot say I am all that inspired by the renditions. If we wanted a vision of future development I am not sure why we would be asking those firms. They are not really on the cutting edge of progressive building typologies. Richard Meier has been designing buildings with white and glass for the past twenty years, why would the next twenty years be a lot different?

    I would expect to be asking firms that are approaching the profession and design in new ways. REX, Morphosis, or William McDonough are reassessing the landscape of design and the process of building. Combine that with James Corner and Field Operations to speak to a new age of responsive design.

    I agree with the previous comments as well. Since the site is New York, PlaNYC (New York’s 2030 Plan) already has noted that 80% of the buildings in Manhattan in 2030 are already there now. Without question, the reuse of existing buildings is imperative.

    • tito

      I agree it is a strange choice of architects, and would argue further that it is strange they are asking architects at all. There are almost no new buildings proposed in these schemes (except HOK’s, which are pretty rad but nothing 30 years-futuristic). That said, if the only interesting things about the future of buildings are what’s going on up on the roof and surrounding the buildings, I’m not convinced there’s much of a future for architects anyway.

      This is a landscape excercise. Let Field Operations, Van Valkenburgh, West 8 and Ken Yeang do their thing. I’d much rather see those guys dream up buildings than see architects dream up landscape and throw a building underneath it.

      I applaud Newsweek for giving a platform for these guys to dream, but I would have liked to see our 30-year dreams a bit bigger, something to get people a bit more excited.

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