Nature based solutions have the potential to transform cities and buildings

Nature based solutions have the potential to transform cities and buildings

nature based solutionsThe UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched a new framework to help organisations and planners to recognise the significant value and benefit of nature-based solutions across urban developments. The report claims to reveal the scale of positive outcomes which Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) can deliver, as well as the wide range of stakeholders who can benefit from their implementation across cities and urban areas. More →

The fifteen minute city will transform the way we think about workplaces

The fifteen minute city will transform the way we think about workplaces

Paris fifteen minute cityFor most of history, there have been a small number of immovable truisms that formed the nature of what work is, and how communities form around it. While individuals have long held some agency around the structure and pattern of their work, being present in a communal workplace has been a non-negotiable reality. This need to work from an office comes wed with parallel requirements to help facilitate it. Employees have been willing to strike a compromise between where they wish to live and where they want to work through commutes, with the financial and time cost and associated stress that comes along with it. More →

UK tech talent shifts from London to other cities

UK tech talent shifts from London to other cities

The number of professionals with technology skills is expanding at a faster pace in the North of England than in London and the South of England, as demand for technology talent increases around the country, according to the latest U.K. Tech Talent Tracker from Accenture. The tracker, which analyses LinkedIn’s Professional Network data, finds that the pool of technology talent in cities in the North of England has grown on average by 15 percent in the last year, outpacing southern cities that grew on average at 9 percent. Technology talent in cities across Scotland and Wales has grown on average by 5 percent and 9 percent respectively.  More →

Levelling up agenda failing to address city imbalances

Levelling up agenda failing to address city imbalances

The UK’s smaller towns and cities are expected to show stronger economic growth than those that are larger and more metropolitan and there is an increased focus from the public on wellbeing, the environment and income distribution, according to PwC’s annual Good Growth for Cities report. Areas such as Bournemouth, Exeter and Plymouth, are expected to see the strongest gross value added (GVA) growth rates for 2021 and 2022, with cities in the North and Midlands continuing to lag behind despite the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. More →

The much talked about new normal doesn’t exist, but the world has changed in profound ways

The much talked about new normal doesn’t exist, but the world has changed in profound ways

no new normalThe World Health Organization officially declared COVID a pandemic on March 11 2020. Now, two years later, there’s light for some at the end of the tunnel. In many wealthier countries, which have benefited from several rounds of vaccination, the worst of the pandemic is over. We’ve got here by learning a lot of new health behaviour, like wearing masks and sanitising our hands. Many of us have also developed a variety of social habits to reduce the virus’s spread – such as working from home, shopping online, travelling locally and socialising less. But as parts of the world emerge from the pandemic, are these new habits here to stay, or do old habits really die hard? Is there a new normal? Here’s what data can tell us.

 

 

Work

One of the biggest changes predicted during the pandemic was a long-term shift towards home or hybrid working. However, there are already signs that this transition might not be as obvious or complete as expected.

The signs of the transition to hybrid work are not as obvious or complete as expected

In the UK, the proportion of people working from home at least some of the time increased from 27 percent in 2019 to 37 percent in 2020, before falling to 30 percent in January 2022. Similarly, in the US the proportion working from home declined from 35 percent in May 2020 to 11 percent in December 2021.

One of the main reasons people are going back to the office is employers’ expectations. Many companies are concerned that more permanent home working might affect employees’ team building, creativity and productivity.

But among employees, there’s a greater appetite for hybrid and flexible working. One recent multi-national survey found that whereas roughly one-third of workers had worked at home at least some of the time before the pandemic, roughly half said they want to in the future.

 

Shopping

The pandemic didn’t create the habit of online shopping, but it makes more of us do it. Did this make us realise we don’t need actual stores anymore?

It doesn’t seem so. Shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores has already started to recover. Recent data on people’s movements, gathered anonymously from mobile devices, shows how in many countries, before omicron hit, travel to retail and recreation spaces was back up to pre-pandemic levels, and is already starting to rebound after omicron.

The rise in online sales has also not been as dramatic or sustained as many predicted. In the UK, online sales made up 20 percent of total retail sales before the pandemic. By February 2021 this had risen to 36 percent, before declining steadily to 25 percent in February 2022.

 

Travel

One habit that might take longer to recover is our pre-pandemic love of international travel. It has taken a hit around the world, and the sector is still struggling. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization projects that international travel in 2022 will still be down by nearly a half compared to 2019.

One British survey conducted last September found that while 80 percent of people were planning on holidaying in the UK in the next year, only around 40 percent were considering going abroad. In comparison, in the 12 months up to July 2019, 64 percent of Brits travelled abroad for a holiday according to one travel industry body.

People’s reluctance to travel has been largely down to concerns over the virus and confusion over travel rules. As worries decline and rules get lifted, we may see a “mini-boom” in holidaymaking.

 

Socialising

Early in the pandemic, some commentators – including the US chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci – suggested we might never return to shaking hands. I, with my colleague Dr Kimberly Dienes, argued that it was vital these rituals make a comeback, as they have several social, psychological and even biological benefits.

Are social-distancing habits, including meeting fewer people and having less physical contact with those we do, here to stay? For most people, no. Data shows only one-third of people in the UK are still socially distancing regularly, the lowest proportion since the pandemic began.

 

No new normal

But truly, only time will tell how much the pandemic will have changed our habits. However, bolder predictions – that the pandemic was going to completely and irrevocably change our ways of working, shopping, travelling and socialising – now seem premature and exaggerated. The pandemic has taught us we can work, learn, shop and socialise in different ways, but the question now is whether we still want to.

The pandemic has taught us that we need to connect with others

Humans have basic needs, such as autonomy, feeling related to others, and feeling effective and competent in what we do. Part of the challenge with home working, for example, is that it simultaneously fulfils one need by giving us greater autonomy but takes away another by making us less connected. Expanding adequately supported, equality-focused, hybrid and flexible working arrangements is perhaps a promising way to meet both needs.

Some people will have acquired a sense of competence, or at least familiarity, with the new ways of doing things during the pandemic and so may wish to keep doing them. In some areas – travelling overseas, for example – it may take longer for our competence, and confidence, in old habits to return. However, many seem to be quite quickly returning to old ways and re-learning how to feel competent at doing things that they did before.

The extent to which we’ll go back to our old ways may also depend on our personality traits, which have been shown to shape our compliance with new behaviour. For example, those more open to new experiences by nature, or more extroverted, may be more eager to travel internationally or socialise in larger groups.

Finally, the pandemic may have served as a reminder of how much we appreciate everyday interactions with others, in shops, restaurants and so on. People may be keen to return to familiar ways that revive this – for example, picking something up in a store on the way home from work. Above all, the pandemic has taught us that we need to connect with others and that there are limits as to how much online communication can replace real, face-to-face interactions.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Memories of the Office Age 

Memories of the Office Age 

memories of the office ageNo author uses the built environment like J G Ballard. In his 1975 novel High-Rise, the eponymous structure is both a way of isolating the group of people who live and compete inside it and a metaphor for their personal isolation and inner struggles. Over the course of three months, the building’s services begin to fail. The 2,000 people within, detached from external realities in the 40-storey building, confronted with their true selves and those of their neighbours, descend into selfishness and – ultimately – savagery.  More →

Urban and real estate recovery driven by talent and innovation focused firms

Urban and real estate recovery driven by talent and innovation focused firms

real estate recoveryInnovation-oriented industries and talent concentration are driving urban and real estate recovery, with notable hot spots in parts of the US, Europe and Asia, according to JLL’s new report, Innovation Geographies (registration). The authors claim that cities that perform best on these measures will be best positioned for economic growth post-pandemic, demonstrating a strong link between innovation, talent ecosystems and real estate performance. More →

Cities need to open themselves up to Nature, report claims

Cities need to open themselves up to Nature, report claims

natural world in citiesCities contribute 80 percent to global GDP – but they also account for 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Integrating nature-positive solutions can help protect cities from growing risks associated with extreme weather while driving sustainable economic growth, according to a new study from the World Economic Forum. In collaboration with the Alexander von Humboldt Institute and Government of Colombia, WEF’s BiodiverCities by 2030 Initiative published a report addressing the urgency of cities’ untenable relationship with nature. The Initiative’s goal is to reverse this existential global threat and move forward with a plan that will result in cities and nature co-existing in harmony by the end of the decade. More →

Startups fuelling growth in demand for flexible offices

Startups fuelling growth in demand for flexible offices

flexible officesAccording to  data from The Instant Group 584,097 companies have been registered in the UK since the start of 2021 – this equates to 1,781 per day. The most companies registered in 2021 so far have been in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. The growth in start-ups has fuelled an increase in demand for flexible offices across the UK’s cities, with large proportional increases outside London. Requirements for coworking and serviced offices has grown significantly in cities such as Bristol (41 percent), Manchester (28 percent), and Reading (27 percent) over the past year. More →

What big city exodus? Minority of Londoners are working from home full time

What big city exodus? Minority of Londoners are working from home full time

LondonersResearch carried out by Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey), exploring Londoners’ changing experience and expectations of work claims that despite common beliefs, COVID-19 has not caused the end of ‘city life’ with just 14 percent working remotely full time. More →

Confidence sky high in London Office Crane survey

Confidence sky high in London Office Crane survey

LondonThe London Office Crane Survey Winter 2021 suggests dramatically improved confidence about London in the developments that are being undertaken in the office market. The survey, compiled by Deloitte, claims the volume of new starts has increased from 3.1 million to 3.4 million sq ft, above the long-term average of 2.4 million sq ft. More →

Smart cities infrastructure investment to top US$375 billion in 2030

Smart cities infrastructure investment to top US$375 billion in 2030

smart citiesAccording to technology intelligence firm ABI Research, investments in urban infrastructure aimed at implementing new visions for smart cities will reach US$375 billion by 2030 as cities invest in brownfield and greenfield projects. Drivers behind urban innovation are numerous but both the digitalisation of lifestyles, accelerated by Covid-19, and the increasingly pressing need to address climate change are powerful engines for metropolitan transformation. Additional agents of change include the call for more equity and inclusiveness, scalable economic development, and more affordable living. More →

Translate >>