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What makes cities tick? GenslerOnCities explores the planning, design, and the potential futures of urban landscapes.

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Thinking Outside the Box in London's Parks

Can blank white cubes such as this one inspire businesses and others to rethink the role of parks? Image courtesy of Groundwork

In 2011 Gensler research collaborated with the Urban Land Institute to identify the value of open spaces for both public and private sector activities. The resulting survey, Open Space: an Asset without a Champion?, revealed that private sector businesses would be willing to fund open space development if the right mechanism for investment was available and properly managed. The paper also identified the need for public and private sector entities to collaborate on creating, financing and maintaining open spaces. Open spaces are no longer the exclusive domain of governments and public funding. Private entities can benefit from the proliferation of open spaces and must therefore take an active role in advancing open space creation, management and development.

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The ROI of Human Experience

Image © Ben Tranel

Air quality in China has been the subject of much press over the past few years, much of it negative. In addition to concerns impacting health and wellbeing, as cities go vertical, our ability to see out and across them from newly-constructed tall buildings is a key component of the urban experience.

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Work in the City: Alternative Spaces

Image © Gensler

Alternative spaces have always been part of cities. These peripheral, unregulated, often temporary spaces host projects and foster ideas that fall outside of the status quo but often end up going mainstream. Think of pop-up shops, farmers’ markets, makers’ forums like Etsy, and food trucks. Alternative spaces sit dormant with latent potential and when found serve as sandboxes for grassroots movements that organically grow out of the contemporary culture of urban communities. Co-working spaces are a quintessential example of this resourcefulness—a phenomenon that began around 2000 as the dot-com crash turned “third spaces” like coffee shops into communal workspace for a cohort of free agents.

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4 Trends Shaping the Future of Data Centers

Image © Gensler

As iPhone 6 mania continues to sweep around the globe this week, and people are newly focused on how mobile technology will transform their lives, I’m thinking about the data centers that underpin our computing systems. When our use of technology grows and changes, the infrastructure that supports it changes, too. As a designer of mission critical facilities, I’ve learned that it’s really difficult to build data centers to keep pace with technology, yet that’s a reality we face along with our clients. At Gensler, our Mission Critical practice watches changes carefully. Here are the four trends we see impacting data centers most today.

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Old is New: Revitalizing The Anacostia Riverfront 

The new Lumber Shed building in Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Riverfront area. Image © Prakash Pratel

A version of this post originally appeared on Jordan Goldstein's personal blog

Growing up in the D.C. area in the late 70’s and 80’s, I knew Washington as a one-river town. The Potomac was the water body that defined the city, while the Anacostia River was the polluted waterway that I rarely heard about. The Potomac was (and is) the iconic waterway that so many associate with D.C. It serves as a shimmering backdrop to sun kissed photos of the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Washington Monument, and the Kennedy Center. Tourists walk along West Potomac Park, with rowers in the backdrop, their sculls seemingly floating above the surface.

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