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How to increase office occupancy with sensors and space design?
EIN PressWire recently posted about a collaboration between Disruptive Technologies, HeadsUp and the global coworking provider Spaces. The three companies are monitoring occupancy and looking to implement different strategies in order to maximize office space use. Spaces focus on the creation of creative office environments for innovators, forward thinkers and game-changers that look for comfortable and stylish spaces to work, meet and collaborate. But it has had a hard time understanding how its spaces are being used. “Up until now, Spaces had little insight. That all changed when HeadsUp & Spaces installed 50+ Disruptive Technologies temperature sensors under tables and chairs in the Hague’s famous Red Elephant (Rode Olifant) building. The sensors pick up changes in body temperature and quickly provide insight into space occupancy and how often their meeting rooms, co-working spaces, desks, and chairs are being used, and how”. They receive key insights like how hard wooden chairs, for example, were not used as much as more comfortable office chairs. This input helped improve material and furniture utilization by 30%. Data driven design can have a huge impact on and influence occupancy and optimization. What are the highlights of the testing? Effective office design is occupancy-driven Sensor data helps you “listen” and understanding your tenants & employees Easy optimization of your space can be done with non-invasive sensor technology “Armed with insights, you can be confident that any changes you make to your office layout and functionality will reflect how your employees or tenants behave, providing them with an optimized space that they might not have even been aware they needed,” said Bengt Lundberg, Disruptive Technologies CEO. At MKThink we're developing technologies and strategies to help clients improve spatial intelligence in order to create productive and safer environments. To learn more about how MKThink helps organizations strategize their future, please contact us. #spatialintelligence #optimization #occupancymonitoring To read more: https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/545305473/increasing-office-occupancy-through-space-design-with-the-worlds-smallest-sensors
Healthy Environments: Green Roofs that combat climate change
Basel, a city located in Switzerland has been featured by EuroNews Green as the ‘first city in the world’ to make green spaces and areas a legal requirement for any type of construction, especially new buildings. This effort wants to force city planners to start caring and taking into consideration biodiversity as a key part in design. “Basel’s city planning authority has made green roofs compulsory. This new requirement adds patches of green space which defuse humidity and help to cool buildings off quicker during the summer months”. Basel’s city has a biodiversity strategy planning that has been used for the past 15 years. Green spaces were mandatory on all new and retrofitted buildings with flat roofs. This policy has led to“more than 1 million square metres of green roofs [that]have been constructed, making it the leading city in ‘greening’ its urban spaces”. “Here in Basel, we noticed that (flat roofs) were not being used enough and (could be) valuable areas for nature. That's why we started, together with our colleagues from the building department, and in particular, the then Director Barbara Schneider, to integrate these areas into the planning law, to define guidelines and thus to implement these projects in Basel." Dr Stephan Brenneisen, Researcher at the Institute for the Environment and Natural Resources in Zurich. At MKThink we are also looking at how city planning can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how urban spaces can be designed considering factors such as sustainability, wellbeing and safety. And we especially love finding underutilized spaces that can become productive for the benefit of society. Whether it's rooftops or bathrooms or under highway bypasses, tell us what you're interested in transforming To read more: https://www.euronews.com/green/2021/07/09/how-this-swiss-city-is-using-green-roofs-to-combat-climate-change #biodiversity #greencity #healthyplaces #healthyenvironments
Learning environments: How to boost performance in schools by using spaces creatively?
The Newspaper made a recent article about a book called School Leadership and the Creation of Productive Learning Spaces in Schools, written by Prof Aslam Fataar from the Department of Education Policy Studies at Stellenbosch University and Dr Johann Burger, District Manager for the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). Burger emphasizes how the creative use of spaces in schools can improve a student's performance and also promote their emotional well being. “The book shows how two principals of diverse schools – one in an urban working class area and the other in a rural middle class area – apply unique leadership and the use of specific spaces in schools to create excellent learning environments that inspire and motivate their learners and teachers to excel in what they do”. In both schools there were different changes that were applied, for example, the principles of each school incorporate “physical, emotional and social spaces” by using different elements like colour, sound, maps, artworks, light and diagrams in the learning environment. Each one of the new projects looks to promote socialization and relaxation. “According to the authors, the book shows how limited resources and spaces in schools can be utilised to create learning environments that foster relationships between teachers and learners based on respect, compassion and educational dignity. Furthermore, it provides insight into the possibility of innovative and inspiring leadership in the creation of educational spaces. The authors believe that newly created and productive learning spaces will have a positive influence on learners and say that this will inspire and excite them about going to school”. At MKThink we are also looking at how learning environments can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as wellbeing and safety. At Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, CA, we re organized the entire campus plan to be centered around "making and creativity" with a Maker's HUB, amphitheater and outdoor exploration area located at the center of the school. These spaces signal to students the importance leadership and faculty have places on these activities. What ideas do you have for your spaces? To read more about the article discussed above: https://thenewspaper.co.za/creative-use-of-spaces-in-schools-can-boost-performance/ #learningenvironments #classrooms #kids
Community Planning can be managed outside City Halls?
In Groton City, Connectitud, the City Planning and Economic Development Department is launching a series of community design workshops in order to engage community members to share ideas and needs for the main commercial areas of the city. The Day released an article about the program used in that city: placemaking, street designs and the reactivation of different neighbourhoods. “Placemaking is a ‘multi-faceted approach to plan and design public spaces’ and ‘capitalizes on local community assets, inspiration and potential, creating public spaces that promote health, happiness and comfort in our neighborhoods’”. What is the goal? Create a shared vision between the staff and community and achieve an adequate redevelopment in three different neighborhoods. These workshops will definitely be the perfect occasion to discuss topics, bring out the needs of the community and share ideas on how the city can be more walkable, bikeable and how to make underutilized spaces useful and productive. "We want people to be involved, and we want them to feel ownership in the process, and to do that we need to find the best way for the community to engage with staff in the process”. Community feedback will be incorporated into the plans and design for infrastructure improvements in the city. “To engage community stakeholders to re-vision, plan and program underutilized space within the area. There is an opportunity to re-energize Thames Center through focused efforts that thoughtfully preserve cultural, economic and historic assets while enhancing the area's potential through a series of interventions”. At MKThink we are also working on projects that involve urban design and planning through a process of community integration. We run community-based workshops where we prototype designs and/or play games that elicit creative ideas from people young and old. We believe that cities should uplift and connect us all, and we love working on projects that bring that dream a bit closer to reality. #community #engagement #publicspaces To read more about the article: https://www.theday.com/article/20210714/NWS01/210719734
How learning environments should be according to students?
The Colorado Sun published a recent article about how Colorado Springs students envision coming back to school. Outdoor classrooms, relaxation spaces, plants, water features, comfortable couches and more. These and other ideas were discussed in a virtual listening session that took place on July 8, in which kids from across Colorado could participate and share their ideas regarding how the Colorado Department of Education could best spend its budget to help schools and academia in general. Investments need to respond to all the new requirements that students have after the pandemic. After more than a year in confinement, students seek to feel more ‘at home’ instead of ‘at school’. “Students want to see free breakfasts and lunches continue to be available at their schools. They're eager for more outdoor learning spaces and investment in infrastructure that will support a reliable internet connection. They want their teachers to be trained to respond to student stress and trauma. They're asking for more programs that prioritize after-school learning, more support when it comes to applying to college, and more flexible schedules that allow students to hold jobs and internships”. Why listen to them? Students are for sure the ones that need to be heard since they spendmost of their time in classrooms. They should have the loudest voices when it comes to exploring different initiatives on how best to use federal stimulus dollars, guided by expert input and data “So while parents and teachers can offer a perspective and offer what they experienced, there is nothing that replaces direct student voice on what they experienced, what they saw their peers experience and what would be helpful to them and their friends going forward.” It is clear that new demands regarding learning environments have a lot to do with healthier spaces and how leisure time can also be as important as classes. At MKThink we are also looking at how learning environments can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as wellbeing and safety. To read more about the article discussed above: https://parkerchronicle.net/stories/students-share-ideas-on-use-of-stimulus-funds,379313 #learningenvironments #classrooms #kids
Nationwide infrastructure strategies will have a positive impact on real estate industry
The criteria that shapes the new infrastructure projects, particularly in transportation, will have a positive impact on the real estate sector. According to SmartBrief, excellent investment opportunities for real estate are coming from new infrastructure projects that are climate change resistant, value the previously marginalized neighborhoods, take in consideration traffic patterns and facilitate communication between places (transportation). “Remy Raisner pointed out that the pandemic has been great for the growth of emerging Brooklyn neighborhoods, where his private equity firm The Raisner Group has apartment and commercial buildings. He expects that trend to continue. People are moving there because they value having more space at home, especially if they plan to continue working from home, even partially, he said. And while that may mean commuting less, Remy suggests that people may be willing to commute longer distances when they do. But strong public transportation will remain key”. Infrastructure needs to incorporate multimodal transportation, the design and planning must take into account parking spots, pedestrian paths, bike lanes, buses and shuttle services. Experts said that “infrastructure bill impacts the region will depend on how that money trickles down from the federal government to the state and then how it's deployed throughout the municipalities, but well planned hubs are good real estate development opportunities”. Similar development projects have worked in other areas, for example, the Big Dig, that helped reconnect east Boston with downtown. This project had an enormous impact on real estate opportunities that wasn’t easily recognized before. “If they're in neighborhoods where things like the existing housing stock is either insufficient, needs to be rehabilitated, or -- based on growth in those areas -- needs to be added to, I think that creates great opportunities for the real estate industry. There's certainly a significant number of examples of urban case studies where highways have cut off certain parts of a city.” “Alexander Heil, vice president for research at Citizens Budget Commission and adjunct professor at Columbia University and New York University said: How can we actually think about levels of service that will optimize the mobility that is provided to residents, to workers, to commuters? And how can we get the greatest economic benefit in the long term for dollars? And if we can do that, I think, the transit system of the future may actually not in certain parts resemble the transit picture of the past.” At MKThink we're developing technologies and strategies to help clients optimize their resources for the future. One of the biggest issues we face in real estate is under-occupancy and utilization, where space sits empty or partially full for many hours of the day. By better optimizing the use of space, we can help avoid building more buildings that we don’t need, saving money for clients and reducing the carbon impact on the environment. To learn more about how MKThink helps organizations strategize their future, please contact us. To read more: https://www.smartbrief.com/original/2021/06/real-estate-could-prosper-nationwide-infrastructure-investment-strategies #healthcare #systemoptimization #realestate
Healthy Places: Workspace centered on employee’s health and wellbeing
ArchDaily narrates how a project called ‘Welcome, feeling at Work’ designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates with Europa Risorse is a recent trend when it comes to workplaces design and architecture. The project will take place in Milan, Italy and its development is scheduled for 2024. The biophilic office seeks to be a workspace centered around the integration of the local environment to the offices and by doing so, supporting employee health and wellbeing. “Biophilic architecture: living with, and in nature. Welcome, feeling at work, is designed with organic, natural elements that appeals to our senses and tendency to find comfort and inspiration to the natural settings. Architecture space fully integrated living plants and greenery, composed with organic materials. […] Biophilic urban living; give life back to the city. It is to be the New Gate, green architectural intervention reestablishing the urban axis, enriching urban space quality, enhancing public activity of the area. -- Yuki Ikeguchi, partner in charge of designing the project for Kengo Kuma and Associates”. The project will integrate a mixed use intervention of meeting rooms, co-working premises, auditoriums, offices, shops, restaurants, supermarkets and wellness areas. “The green infrastructure comprises the Piazza, packed with vegetation and surrounded by soft rolling hills; the open-air courtyards, dedicated to informal work and meetings; the Terraces, designed as extensions of the outside spaces; and the Greenhouses, special workplaces that can also be used for entertainment”. At MKThink we are also looking at how places can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as sustainability, wellbeing and safety. We think too often environments are designed to be equally unsatisfying (average) for everyone, versus leaning into the variation inherent in people's preferences and designing for those unique variations. To learn more, drop us a note. To read more: https://www.archdaily.com/958476/kengo-kuma-to-design-milans-biophilic-office-of-the-future# #biophilic #healthyplaces #healthyenvironments
Benefits of the integration of spatial intelligence in warehouses
The pandemic has accelerated the integration of spatial intelligence solutions in order to achieve the optimization of operations in industries. MH&L Magazine published an article that analyzes the benefits of integrating this technology in warehouses. Some of the key points discussed were “real-time operational visibility, enabling warehouse operators to increase worker productivity, asset utilization and safety”. The increase of e-commerce during the pandemic has also triggered new demands on warehouse operations. The E-commerce focused warehouses inevitably required more operators, transportation efficiencies and space. The result is that warehouse managers are trying to integrate innovative solutions that enhance worker productivity, increase asset usage and space utilization, but also assure worker safety and satisfaction. “To address this urgent market need, cloud-based warehouse spatial intelligence (WSI) solutions—a new category of software solutions—have recently emerged. This new spatiotemporal approach combines unique spatial and real-time data (precise indoor location, HD images and videos, and advanced sensors) with advanced cloud-based analytics to gain actionable insights and automate decision making without human intervention. WSI solutions have been demonstrated to help improve real-time operational visibility, enabling logistics and warehouse operators to increase worker productivity, asset utilization and safety”. The integration of this technology can facilitate the analysis of a wide quantity of data, without the need to change to another software or system. It also helps to monitor operational visibility across facilities and improves forecasting and strategic planning. Areas in which spatial intelligence could have a positive impact: Worker productivity Asset and space utilisation Loading dock efficiency Safety Integration with robotics Connected Warehouses “Warehouse spatial intelligence solutions have the potential to address this increasing consumer expectation and become an essential tool in allowing operators to maximize productivity, efficiency and safety”. At MKThink we're developing technologies and strategies to help clients improve spatial intelligence in order to create productive and safer environments. By better optimizing the use of space, we can make progress regarding the reduction of the carbon impact on the environment. To learn more about how MKThink helps organizations strategize their future, please contact us. #warehouses #spatialintelligence #optimization To read more: https://www.mhlnews.com/technology-automation/article/21151717/why-warehouses-are-becoming-spatially-intelligent
Building community through design
Public Square a CNU Journal shared a recent article that illustrates 10 reasons to build community through design. Are cities designed to bring us apart or closer? Interesting question to address. According to experts, when urban spaces have great public spaces and neighbourhoods it brings people together. “We build cities that bring us together or push us apart. "Gated communities" are an obvious example of building to isolate, but other methods are also common. Streets that are too wide, with fast moving traffic, divide us. So do zoning codes that separate uses and housing types. Berms, buffers, setbacks, limited-access highways, and massive parking lots, when used routinely, put barriers and distance between people.” But let’s revise 10 reasons why it is important to design and build cities that support communities Freedom and choice in mobility: “When you live in a walkable neighborhood, you can still drive if you want to. But you can also walk, ride a bike, hop on a bus or train, and often take car-share or bike-share.” Support social interaction: cities that build strong communities can support social interaction, factor that can be determinant to reduce loneliness and social deprivation Great Public Places: “There is nothing like great public places to bring people together, but activating such spaces requires people living and working in proximity—it requires the neighborhood model”. Healthy Lifestyle Opportunities: Places that are designed to be walkable implicitly support healthier lifestyles for people. Reduce cost of living: “The average car costs more than $9,000 a year. When you live in a walkable city, you drive significantly less or may even live without a car. Transportation costs are significantly reduced, which cuts combined housing and transportation (H+T) expenses”. Environment protection Transit oriented neighborhoods can reduce carbon emissions. “Every trip on foot or on a bike burns fat instead of gas, keeping us healthier and the air cleaner. Also, when we spend time outdoors we get acclimated to the local environment so that when we return indoors we may be able to throw the windows open and leave the air conditioner off”. Long lasting value and build the tax base “Joe Minicozzi of Urban 3 has documented the productivity of American development patterns—and the most productive parts are mixed-use downtowns and neighborhoods. He has modeled scores of US cities and the data is clear: Single-use development has lower financial productivity”. Reduce infrastructure expenses: When cities are designed to be compactable and walkable you can diminish a lot of unproductive liabilities and reduce the construction of inefficient infrastructure. Reduce traffic deaths: “When cities and towns are designed for separation, inevitably the thoroughfares are built for faster moving traffic. People have to drive farther, at higher speeds—multiplying risk for everybody on the roads, including those who must walk in difficult conditions. This costs lives.” Make community unique: “When you build and revitalize mixed-use main streets and focus on placemaking, the unique qualities of community are enhanced. That gives people a reason to go to a community, experience something different, and invest.” At MKThink we are also working on projects that involve urban design and planning through a process of community integration. We run community-based workshops where we prototype designs and/or play games that elicit creative ideas from people young and old. We believe that cities should uplift and connect us all, and we love working on projects that bring that dream a bit closer to reality. #community #engagement #publicspaces To read more about the article: https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2017/01/17/ten-reasons-build-community-through-urban-design
The Truth About Open Offices - Harvard Business Review
MKT Statement: Just because it was written before the pandemic, doesn’t mean it’s not relevant for planning the post-pandemic hybrid workplace. What is still true? We need to measure what we’re trying to achieve and adjust our practices in real time using real-time data. Call-outs: “A single best physical or digital workspace architecture will never be found. That’s because more interaction is not necessarily better, nor is less. The goal should be to get the right people interacting with the right richness at the right times.” “Many common assumptions about office architecture and collaboration are outdated or wrong. Although the open-office design is intended to encourage us to interact face-to-face, it gives us permission not to. The “accidental collisions” facilitated by open offices and free spaces can be counterproductive. In many instances, “copresence” via an open office or a digital channel does not result in productive collaboration.” “Technological advances allow us to test assumptions and understand how groups of workers really interact. The hard data required to prove or disprove theories can be obtained and analyzed. For that to occur on a large scale, the HR, real estate, and finance functions need to embrace the experimentation that has infused marketing and operations. When that happens, physical and virtual workplace design can become a continuous process—one that gives the architecture and the anatomy of collaboration a happy place to meet.” We found that face-to-face interactions dropped by roughly 70% after the firms transitioned to open offices, while electronic interactions increased to compensate. Using advanced wearables and capturing data on all electronic interactions, we—along with Stephen Turban, one of Ethan’s former students, who is currently at Fulbright University Vietnam—tracked face-to-face and digital interactions at the headquarters of two Fortune 500 firms before and after the companies transitioned from cubicles to open offices. We chose the most representative workplaces we could find; we waited until people had settled in to their new spaces to track their postmove interactions; and, for accuracy, we varied the length of time over which we tracked them. With the first company, we collected data for three weeks before the redesign, starting one month prior, and for three weeks roughly two months after it. With the second, we collected data for eight weeks before the redesign, starting three months prior, and for eight weeks roughly two months after it. We aligned our data-collection periods with seasonal business cycles for apples-to-apples comparisons—for example, we collected data during the same weeks of the quarter. We found that face-to-face interactions dropped by roughly 70% after the firms transitioned to open offices, while electronic interactions increased to compensate. People in open offices create a fourth wall, and their colleagues come to respect it. If someone is working intently, people don’t interrupt her. If someone starts a conversation and a colleague shoots him a look of annoyance, he won’t do it again. Especially in open spaces, fourth-wall norms spread quickly Sometimes the best answer doesn’t involve changes to the physical structure. Experiments showed Mori that events deliberately designed to achieve particular interactions between specific individuals and teams had a more precise and valuable impact on interaction patterns than did changes to the office space. Those events can be internal workshops, hackathons, or even barbecues, as long as interactions are measured, using sensors, to show whether the desired patterns emerged. To help integrate new hires during their first week on the job, a midsize technology company puts jars of cookies on their desks and posts a map in the lobby showing the jars’ locations, to encourage people to stop by. Humanyze discovered that the location of its coffee machines significantly influences interactions. If a team needs to focus internally, the company puts a coffee machine in the center of its area. If two teams need to collaborate, it puts the machine between them. To read more about the article: https://hbr.org/2019/11/the-truth-about-open-offices #learningenvironments #openoffices #interactions
How to optimize work in order to make it innovative, efficient and creative?
The New York Times released a recent article written by Clair Cain Miller that analyses a frequent dilemma: Does chance meetings shift or stifle creativity? Interesting question to address, now more than ever since the work dynamic changed completely during and after the pandemic lock down. “In-office work is essential for some innovative jobs, like those that involve physical objects, and beneficial for some people, like newly hired employees and those seeking mentors. Yet some creative professionals, like architects and designers, have been surprised at how effective remote work has been during the pandemic, while scientists and academic researchers have long worked on projects with colleagues in other places”. Team meetings at the office and the usage of co-working spaces can be beneficial. Increases socializing and collaboration. An example of this are the brainstorming sessions that can be more effective than virtual meetings. But, at the same time, in person work may trigger problems such as gender disparity in participation and remuneration, discrimination or exclusion. “Requiring people to be in the office can drive out innovation, some researchers and executives said, because for many people, in-person office jobs were never a great fit. They include many women, racial minorities and people with caregiving responsibilities or disabilities”. Is there any solution? Some experts say that one possible solution is to rethink the concept of ‘office’. This means, not seeing it as a headquarters people go daily to work but instead to be a place where workers go sometimes, for special occasions or group hangouts. Big companies such as Ford and Salesforce are already implementing this. “One of our big fears is that if we don’t get this right, we create this two-tier employee reality — who’s in the room, who’s not, who’s playing the politics, who’s not,” Mr. Spaulding at Zillow said. “We believe humans want to connect and collaborate. But do you need to do that five days a week, or can you do that once every three”. At MKThink we are also looking at how working environments can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces and experiences can be designed considering factors such as wellbeing and productivity. To see more about the article please click here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/23/upshot/remote-work-innovation-office.html#click=https://t.co/PLkaM1r6hq #workingplaces #learningenvironments #optimization
Healthy Places: Co-working space concepts are a new way to prioritize wellness
People are returning to work at offices after the pandemic, but it is well-known that workers are looking for health conscious spaces. Axios News recently posted about a co-working space called The Ring located in Clearwater, California, whose ultimate goal is to become the ‘healthiest co-working space in the world”. “The co-working space is aiming to get a WELL Certification, a relatively new standard that certifies buildings for prioritizing occupants' well-being through core areas such as air, water, light, nourishment and fitness”. But, what makes this space different? Plants: Conference rooms and elevators have abundant plants, which helps to filter the air. Shared areas: to assure ventilation and fresh air circulation, trash cans, printers and other things are set up on ‘common areas’ in which a specialized ventilation system is set up. “A specialized ventilation system immediately whisks away the air in the communal "printing room" when a print job is done, removing harmful chemicals from the air”. Lighting: “Rooms are equipped with special lighting designed to reinforce occupants' circadian rhythms. Natural light pours in through large windows. Cork walls absorb excess sound.” Aromatherapy: Even if this feature is optional, it is available to boost comfort feeling and also energy. Another completely different feature is the napping pod. “To convince white-collar workers to choose an office over their home, companies will need to entice them with increased wellness amenities in whatever spaces workers will gather”. WELL certification works as an extension of the LEED Certification for sustainable buildings. Both credentials are led by Green Building Certification Inc, and both complement each other “The co-working space is aiming to get a WELL Certification, a relatively new standard that certifies buildings for prioritizing occupants' well-being through core areas such as air, water, light, nourishment and fitness”. At MKThink we are also looking at how places can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as sustainability, wellbeing and safety. We go further into measuring the actual performance of space to see if you're getting the health, safety and other experiential value you want out of it. To learn more, drop us a line. To red more about the article: https://www.axios.com/co-working-spaces-prioritize-wellness-a1ff445e-8068-418b-ac46-3c8465278c68.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axiosam&stream=top #healthyplaces #wellbeing #health