Video: how networks of engaged people can achieve more than nations

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In spite of all its flaws, the Internet can empower people to address specific issues in ways that exceed the abilities of nation states. In this energising talk for the Royal Society for the Arts, Don Tapscott, a Canadian businessman and now one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on people and societies, explores the idea that engaged and connected people can work together to innovate and solve issues that can seem intractable to the world’s governments and international bodies, including the most serious demographic and environmental challenges we all face.

Muted response from built environment sector to Budget 2013

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BudgetThere’s been a muted reaction by the building and construction sector to the Budget announcement of a boast to infrastructure investment and relief that revised energy management regulations are likely to be pushed through. CIBSE has welcomed the news that the Government will be giving a detailed response to last year’s Consultation on changes to Part L of the Building Regulations, which covers energy efficiency, by May 2013. The body which represents building services engineers had raised concerns that delays in changes to Part L of Building Regulations in England should not hold up much needed, cost beneficial changes to Part L for the non-domestic market.

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Building Information Modelling is unstoppable finds survey

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BIMNearly three quarters (71 per cent) of building design and construction experts agree that BIM (Building Information Modelling) represents “the future of project information” and 39 per cent confirmed that they are already using it. But the annual industry-wide BIM survey, undertaken by NBS, reveals a lack of clarity around the subject which could prove an obstacle to its more rapid adoption. 74 per cent of those polled agreed that the industry is “not clear enough on what BIM is yet” and only around one-third claim to be “very” or “quite” confident in their BIM knowledge and skills.

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Olympic dream lives on at Heathrow’s Terminal 1

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HeathrowMissing the fervour of the London 2012 Olympics? Then take a flight to Heathrow. If you’re travelling from within the UK and Ireland or on certain international flights such as San Francisco and Cape Town you’ll get to re-experience the park themed “Games terminal” which was last used during last year’s Olympics. Terminal 1’s gate 20, which sees over 270,000 passengers a year, has been transformed into a rather garish neighbourhood green, complete with park benches, iconic images from London parks and green foliage, designed to leave a lasting memory of the UK beyond the Games.

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Two thirds of workers sit at desk over six hours a day

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Sitting_at_DeskTwo-thirds of office workers sit at their desk for over six hours a day – putting themselves at risk of back complaints. A survey by Office Angels found that 63 per cent of workers spend six hours or more sitting at their desk, over half (51 per cent) slouch in their chair and nearly half (48 per cent) admit to not leaving the office all day. A fifth (21 per cent) of people also admitted to taking their work home with them and a third (32 per cent) work late on a regular basis. The study ‘Work happy, Work well”, which looks at the nation’s wellbeing and bad habits in the workplace reveals that sales, media and marketing (60 per cent) and finance (54 per cent) are the sectors with the highest number of desk bound workers.

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Where flexible working employees really want to work? Starbucks.

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Starbucks CafeLeaving aside the fact that most surveys are designed to further the commercial interests of the firms that commission them, most offer a deal of insight into what drives people and organisations, some of it unwitting. Most telling are often the specific details that lift the veil on the motivations and attitudes of individuals. So it was with a recent survey from Overbury that headlined on the idea that poorly designed offices hamper creativity, but also contained a question that was answered in a way which suggested that the place most staff would like to work would be something akin to their local Starbucks.

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Communal workspace model making inroads in US offices

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Costar

There is a growing trend in the United States to downsize office space, particularly amongst larger public firms, as they increasingly adopt policies for sharing non-dedicated offices and implement technology to support their employees’ ability to work anywhere and anytime. In a webinar presented to subscribers of commercial real estate intelligence group CoStar, Norm G. Miller, PhD, a professor at the University of San Diego, Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate examined what would happen if office tenants used 20 per cent less of the US’ current office space, which has a total valuation of $1.25 trillion.

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Ageing population is the greatest demographic challenge

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Image credit: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/photo_2475828_old-hands-on-clean-table.html'>logoboom / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Forget Gen Y, a new report published today by the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change warns that it’s our rapidly ageing population that will have a huge impact on society, work and public services. Predicting a 50 per cent rise in the number of those aged 65+ and a 100 per cent increase in those aged 85+ between 2010 and 2030, the report advocates enabling people to work for longer, many of whom are legally entitled to do, since the removal of a statutory retirement age in 2011. According to the report, “Ready for Aging?” working for longer would increase income from work, potentially increase savings, and reduce the time of dependence on those savings.

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The UK’s five worst public art projects

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Tracey Emin Roman StandardThat is obviously a misleading headline. The two worst public art projects in recent memory are evidently the Diana Memorial Fountain, which wasn’t much of a fountain never mind a memorial, and B of the Bang, Thomas Heatherwick’s glorious but spike-shedding testament to the then eternally popping dreams of Manchester City fans from 2005. But we all know about them, their failures were primarily functional rather than aesthetic, both are now defunct and they’ve got more than enough stiff competition thanks to the enduring desire of companies and councils up and down the land to make a statement in our public places with little regard for aesthetics or practicality.

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London’s West End office market shifting boundaries

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C4G1T6

Shifting occupier dynamics, a limited supply pool, and a flurry of west to east relocations is redefining the boundaries of London’s West End office market. Sue Foxley, head of research, Cluttons, explained: “Corporate occupiers recognise the importance of securing high quality space within key markets in order to attract and retain the best possible staff, however, it is inevitable that the increasingly restricted supply pool is continuing to hamper relocation options. Businesses, regardless of sector, certainly are not looking for ‘budget’ rental options, but they are becoming increasingly aware that opportunities to secure quality space is scarce and not limited to prime areas.”

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Landmark buildings can lead to an identity crisis for tenants

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A new generation of landmarks

A new generation of landmarks

Companies want to brand themselves in lots of ways and for lots of reasons. There are all the usual reasons to do with marketing but when companies talk about brand and how it is integrated with architecture and the design of their offices they are equally likely to be concerned with attracting staff and making what they think are the right statements about their business. The problem is that while nearly everybody wants to brand their workplace, the design solutions can become overly literal. There’s nothing inherently wrong with logos in the carpet but successful design will be about far more than that. It usually has to be rather less literal and rather more intelligent.

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‘Internet of everything’ for most firms within 3 years

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Cisco techwatch

Next generation workspaces will be a reality for three quarters (76 per cent) of businesses by 2016 says a new Cisco report, as organisations pave the way for greater connectivity by investing in IT infrastructure and collaboration technologies. “Whilst cost-cutting and reducing complexity is important, creating an environment where IT can support – or indeed drive – innovation within the business is paramount said Ian Foddering, CTO Cisco UKI. “Three key pillars emerge: ‘Simplify’, ‘Protect’ and ‘Change & Grow’. Get the first two right, and you pave the way for innovation, greater connectivity, next generation workspaces and ultimately a shift towards the ‘Internet of Everything’.”

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