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  • Ben Goldhirsh

    Mallory, thanks so much for sharing this video. Super interesting primer on urban economics and what variables yield rise or fall for our cities. Really interesting seeing their comparison between a one industry town like detroit vs. an idea town like ny that could bounce between industries when bumps in the road come. How much do you think the virtual fabric will play into collaboration going forward and how do you think that effects cities in terms of whether their jobs will be tied to their industries or whether the people will be their for other reasons (climate, schools, culture) and jobs will be tied to a virtual landscape?

    • Mallory Baches

      I think that's a great point and I wonder how we will look back, even 5 years from now, on what seems like ancient systems of rigidity, thanks to virtual advancements. My instincts say that the virtual fabric will lead to a substantial amount of decentralization of the worker/workplace, which arguably could have the potential to *undermine* exactly what the video talks about -- the fertile environment of creativity that congestion brings. On the other hand, maybe it will allow for a more "organic" type of congestion based on the quality of place. As you say, climate and schools and culture, and even just a city's physical authenticity, will seem a far more attractive investment if there aren't external market influences like a major employer headquarters.

      It also makes me think of the recent Berkeley study about social capital and social/economic mobility -- places that have more refined social networks would presumably offer far more to potential residents, when they aren't tied to location in the conventional ways we'd become accustomed to in past decades.

      • Ben Goldhirsh

        yea. simultaneously, you have marissa meyer stating that she wants all yahoo employees showing up at the office. I mention this only because I think collaborating in person is special, and especially important at the beginning of an effort. That said, I don't have the data on that but I would be excited to see it.

        • Mallory Baches

          In my urban design work, we almost exclusively used the charrette model, and I can't really wrap my brain around the idea of the same (perhaps immeasurable) benefits of in-person collaboration happening from 100% virtual work. I do think that there is room there for an alternative office space model here too. It exists, but I guess I would say, it hasn't been refined to the point of scaled repetition yet. With a breakdown of the conventional silo'ed office space model, you have the opportunity to normalize a cross-pollination working environment that could support an even greater (more complex?) level of collaboration. There is a lot that an engineer can learn from an artist, and vice-versa...