Gensler Reimagines Work in the City
Shawn Gehle in Los Angeles, Reimagining Cities, Work in the City, Work in the City

Video © Gensler

In 2013 Gensler launched a three-year initiative called Reimagining Cities aimed at prompting a series of conversations on how thoughtful, community specific design proposals can address nagging urban problems. Year one focused on the vitality of public open space and continued significance of the Town Square. Gensler offices around the globe created design based scenarios that presented alternatives to the ineffectual conventional wisdom espoused in too many critical public conversations happening in cities across the globe. Our design teams sought fresh solutions to seemingly intractable problems, from retooling pedestrian malls to capturing infrastructure projects as communal space, and in doing so reimagined how cities can harness the potential of open space to create more livable communities.

This year, our firm turned its attention to the role work plays in city life. We directed our global practice to consider how a rapidly changing set of workplace values impacts our cities and their residents. This year’s effort unearthed 10 key themes from the collective work submitted from across the firm. These topics include transportation, diversification/ decentralization, alternative (“third”) spaces, small city surge, polycentric cities, cities as centers of continual education, from makers to manufacturing, ecological limits to growth, rest and the balance between development and environmental issues.

Over the next few months, we will be diving deeper into each of these themes as the designers who uncovered these critical issues relating release their findings and we explain the implications of cities adapting to contemporary work environments, and conversely how employers and workers contribute to thriving urban communities. Cities are collective environments where individual components influence the whole’s health and stability. Design cuts across all sectors of urban life, and only by considering how design can mitigate problems and create sustainable communities can we ensure our cities thrive today and prepare themselves for the future.

Image © Gensler

Shawn Gehle is a Design Principal and Studio Director of a cross-disciplinary studio in Gensler's Los Angeles office. In late 2013, Shawn was designated the Global Curator for Gensler’s Reimagining Cities: Work in the City effort. As the curator for this effort, Shawn is organizing and synthesizing a body of work produced by industry experts and designers across the firm regarding how they see a rapidly changing set of workplace values impacting our cities and their residents in the future. Follow him on Twitter at @shawngehle.
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