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

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Thursday
Mar222018

Designing for Homeless Facilities: Critical Spaces to Consider

Street view sketch showing the transformation of a Super 8 Hotel into a Transitional Housing Facility. Image © Gensler.

The headlines are undeniable: Half a million people across the U.S. are homeless. Of that, 193,000 people have no access to nightly shelter and live in tents, cars, or on the streets. The City of San Diego is home to the fourth largest homeless population in the U.S. As designers based in this city, we find ourselves constantly asking, “How can we help?”

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Monday
Mar122018

Choreographing the Next Generation Dance Studio

Image © Robert Benson Photography.

In designing Boston Ballet School's new studio in Newton-a facility that would not only be for student dancers, but also faculty, parents, and caretakers-a collage of user narratives emerged. Speaking to these users, we realized that learning happens beyond the studios-and that most importantly, the design needed to inspire the love of dance in all who walk through its doors.

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Wednesday
Feb282018

Design Activism: Three Areas of Impact

Image © Gensler

Not-For-Profits are intrinsically motivated; they are driven by passion for what they do and an extreme sense of purpose. Collaborating with them not only calls for a different breed of design intervention, it calls for a different type of designer as well—one who sees a calling far beyond empathy and can truly live and breathe their client’s mission. To address pressing global issues, designers will partner with other disciplines to address issues and solve problems. “Design can no longer afford to be used as an afterthought in any organization, and I would encourage all designers to take more proactive steps to redefine their roles beyond design to that of conscious and ethical decision makers,” Asta Roseway, fusionist at Microsoft, told Fast Company.

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Tuesday
Feb272018

Climate Change: A Crisis and an Opportunity

The Beacon at The Tower at PNC Plaza visualizes how the building maximizes its use of natural resources. Image © Chris Leonard.

Last year was a rough year for climate action advocates, particularly in the United States. We witnessed one of the three warmest years recorded; historic lows in Arctic sea ice; devastating hurricanes and flooding in Texas, the Caribbean, and Florida; and record-breaking wild fires throughout California. A report released in June by scientists from 13 federal agencies concluded that barring drastic action to reduce carbon emissions, we would likely see a 5 degree Celsius or more increase in temperature by end of the century, which would result in crop yields plunging, electricity consumption spikes, and untold damage to coastal cities.

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Tuesday
Feb272018

Sound Health: How Tranquility Rooms Can Heal Caregivers

Image © Burst.

In hospital environments, staff can be inundated with noise—loud sirens, patients in pain, machines beeping—it’s a reflection of policies and regulations creating a dehumanized healthcare experience. But sound—through multisensory environments like the “Tranquility Room” at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.—can also be healing, by promoting a culture of quietness, enhancing environments not just for patients, but to also care for those who take care of others.

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