Businesses and workers are no longer bound by geographical limitations due to advances in technology and workplace behavior. Now is the time to reimagine the role of cities in our lives.
Geographical constraints of living near the office are changing the future of work
Urban high rises can be reimagined as residences and workplaces
The future of urban planning is rich with opportunities for work and life
The Future of Cities is interwoven with the Future of Work, which is why this topic was at the forefront of our April 2021 Convenings. Advances in technology open the door for individual professionals and organizations to thrive in a wide array of locations. While urban centers were once crucial hubs for workers and businesses, their dominance is waning. This work-life trend challenges The United Nations Global Goal of establishing stable urban living by 2030.
If cities no longer attract large populations, large office and residential buildings may go unoccupied, while fewer people will benefit from the feeling of connectivity to others that occurs in densely populated areas. These once-necessary and bustling areas may need to be reimagined if this trend continues in the coming years.
As technology advances and geographical limitations expand, business leaders, politicians, and social policy advocates need to anticipate and reimagine how less densely populated urban areas will continue to thrive
Wisdom Weaver Dr. Dana Ardi believes we need to be creative when we imagine the future of cities:
What are we going to do with all those skyscrapers and buildings and cities? And are we going to live in cities at all or people are going to be exurban? And how do we reimagine cities so that they become cultural opportunities?
Many workers do not need to be in person to successfully accomplish their tasks
What does this new reality mean for cities? In New York City, potential scenarios range from doom-and-gloom fears of a bankrupt city with skyrocketing crime to more positive projections, such as Silicon Valley of the East after several big-tech companies acquired new office space.
Wisdom Weaver Viviane Mansi suggests a complete reimagination of space needs to accompany this technological evolution.
I see a completely new use of space because we are learning how to see remotely and it will be good in a sense…now we can find a new talent anywhere for every kind of company…We bring a new way of thinking to the organization and this new understanding of the space will be good to remove some barriers we had up until now in this sense.
Anthropologist and Wisdom Weaver Dr. Dana Ardi calls for an uncoupling of work and cities so new ideas may be imagined.
Cities have to be reimagined because people’s cities only thrive because people came in to go to work and they worked in offices and they worked in restaurants and they worked in retail and they worked. Well, let’s uncouple that. Where is retail? It’s all e-commerce. Do they have to come into a city to do that? No, not necessarily. You know, and what about some of the other things that people came to offices to do? They don’t have to do that.
Urban dwellings can be reimagined to integrate elder care in the same building as younger residents
Offering opportunities that may otherwise be unachievable in rural areas, city living for elders increases access to health care and reduces isolation.
Dana connects the future of cities with the replacement of traditional nursing homes with family care to streamline access to home and work.
What about caring for the elderly? You know, I — we — used to think that nursing homes were the place. And so now we know nursing homes may not be the ideal place for elderly people. So they’re talking about, or example, in New York, can they convert some of those business skyscrapers to multipurpose housing, and can we get young families to take care of seniors in a shared community and that’s a gainful way to get employment and work?
The new virtual options leave human connections to be desired and are sacrificed in the online sphere
Productivity levels during the Covid-19 pandemic showed that remote work can be good for employers, but is it good for employees?
Wisdom Weaver Dr. Marcus Ranney finds that those who have recently learned to survive virtually are missing human connections.
“But often, now you know if I talk to any of the sales folks they will say that they’re missing the human contact that comes with closing out a deal, so you may be doing more sales calls and maybe doing more volume of work, but the depth of that relationship with a clatter with a client and how much you ultimately sell seems to be going down.”
Coaching Empowers People
As cities evolve, those who live there will need to evolve, also. Coaching is a mechanism that broadens people’s thinking and helps them envision a wider array of options for their lives. Coaching can also support urban planners who will be challenged to apply their skills to a rapidly changing environment while remaining creative and curious about the future.