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

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Monday
Nov202017

What Greenbuild 2017 Signals for the Future of the Green Building Movement 

Partners HealthCare's new LEED Gold campus. Image © Gensler

This post is part of a series in which we look at the critical role that the architecture and design play in global efforts to address climate change. For more on the research behind it, take a look at our Impact by Design report.

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Monday
Nov202017

Who’ll Stop the Rain: Urban Design with Nature

Marines patrol past flooded Houston home. Photo by Lance Cpl. Niles Lee.

“Long as I remember, the rain been comin' down.

Clouds of mystery pourin', confusion on the ground.

Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun.

And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain?”

John Fogerty’s lyrics from 1970’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain” became a devastating reality in 2017 when catastrophic storms hit the Texas Gulf Coast, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Millions of people were impacted with record amounts of rainfall – in some cases, a year’s worth in a few days! Flooding is a necessary natural phenomenon for a healthy ecosystem, but too much and in the wrong place is a deadly combination. But just how much flooding are we talking about?

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Friday
Nov172017

How Businesses Can Compete on Experience, and Win on Design

Image courtesy of Getty Images.

Nearly 30 years ago, Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) celebrated its grand opening. The terminal would become Delta’s West Coast flagship, and was heavily advertised as “the world’s most relaxing airport: an oasis where passengers can relax and ‘take five.’” Designing Terminal 5 for Delta was my first project when I joined Gensler in the 1980s. Its completion ushered in a new era of design at Gensler, one relentlessly focused on design that elevates the human experience. Looking back, I can see how this project laid the foundation for what has become the Gensler Experience Index, a first-of-its-kind mixed-methods research study focused on creating a holistic framework for understanding experience, and quantifying the impact of design on experience.

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Wednesday
Nov152017

SWITCH!: (Re-)activating Urban Space in an Autonomous Future

SWITCH! is a six-piece set of unique, interlocking elements flat-packed into a 10’ x 6’ x 3’ volume. The surfaces of the eccentric sculptural shapes are rendered in two shades of color, the lighter one of which is also visible at night. Components are configurable in a surprising variety of combinations, within an individual set and among multiple, so they are adaptable to different settings. Image © Gensler

Much is made of the promise of technology for the future of cities, but this has for the most part focused upon efficiency, convenience and public health. The latter is as much a social issue as a physiological one—related to how well a “smarter” city also spurs increased and unexpected forms of interaction. With this goal in mind, we developed SWITCH!, a revolutionary street furniture prototype designed to provoke new narratives and activities that will be unlocked by the advent of the autonomous vehicle.

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Tuesday
Oct242017

Why Climate Action Is a Business Imperative 

Banfield Pet Hospital. Image © Gensler/ Ryan Gobuty.

The architecture and design community has a lot of virtues—we are a creative, thoughtful and entrepreneurial bunch. Most us are also genuinely focused on using our work to make a positive impact for our clients, our communities and our broader world. Just like any other industry, however, architects and designers can be guilty of short-term thinking, and this is especially true when it comes to climate action. Working through organizations like the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the World Green Building Council (World GBC), the industry has set some laudable goals in terms of lowering the environmental impact of our work, but we have failed to set the standards needed to reach them. These goals include achieving carbon neutrality in the design for all new building and interiors projects by 2030, and achieving carbon neutrality in the design for all new and existing buildings before 2050.

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