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Medical sector and policy makers working together to improve urban design in order to make cities he
Health guidelines to minimize the spread of Covid 19 are challenging the way we see and use public spaces. Wearing a mask and washing your hands are the easy ways to prevent it. But when it comes to other measures like keeping six feet apart from others it can be difficult to achieve if public spaces only have a four foot standard sidewalk, for instance. Also, avoiding surface contact is not easy when to cross a pedestrian crosswalk requires someone to push a button to cross. “In the case of COVID-19, Dr. David Rojas, an epidemiologist in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State University noticed that when urban areas were not optimized to accommodate mitigation strategies, it put some people in the awkward position of compromising certain public health guidelines to make a necessary trip to their place of work, school, or worship. Or fear of coming in contact with COVID-19 and the inability to safely travel outside the home kept other people inside”. Dr David Rojas works with policy makers to rethink optimal solutions that will solve these new problems inherited from the pandemic. Urban planning is not just about making impacts in the cities, it also has a lot to do with the implementation of designs that improve people's quality of life in the future. “Some of the interventions include adjusting traffic light timing to favor pedestrians and cyclists, expanding public open spaces, and concentrating freight traffic on main roads and at nighttime to improve traffic safety”. At MKThink we are also looking at how places can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces respond to a strong urban planning that takes in consideration several factors such as sustainability, wellbeing and safety. To read more: To read the scientific article Built Environment, Transport, and COVID-19: a Review #healthyplaces #policymakers #publicspaces
Community: How to build adaptive public spaces for communities in pandemic and beyond?
‘Adaptative Public Spaces: Places for People in the Pandemic and Beyond’ is a report recently released by Knight Foundation and the global urban design firm Gehl. The document revealed, with a data analysis, the importance of considering public spaces as a priority when it comes to post pandemic society integration and interaction. Community engagement is a key factor for understanding space’s life cycle. Promoting the Community's active role in the design and governance processes can positively increase the people’s attachment, participation and usage of public spaces. “Adaptive Public Spaces: Places for People in the Pandemic and Beyond” looked at seven different public spaces across the U.S. (each of which received partial funding from Knight) to assess their impact in four different areas—design and programming; community/resident focus; its impact on the broader community, town, or city; and its long-term financial and operational sustainability”. What are the key findings of this study? Residents from a specific location visit more of their public spaces when they reflect resident needs, have historic and artistic characters. In order to achieve equity in spaces, the community needs to participate and engage (design and governance). The prioritization of community engagement in terms of the lifecycle of a space is inevitably going to enhance positive effect on a wider spectrum. Flexible community-led design, inclusive processes, and capacity-building helped sites develop sustainable operating models and adapt to changing conditions — including the pandemic. Also, the report emphasized three practices that can be useful in optimizing public space design: Create spaces with equity in mind. Design spaces with the input of communities that are impacted. Become financially sustainable. At MKThink we are also looking at how spaces can adapt to our evolving needs over time -- sometimes faster when we have a pandemic! -- and how those spaces can create strong communities. We appreciate that others like Gehl Studios are conducting great research that we can leverage in our work as well. To read more: To see the full report: #community #engagement #publicspaces #covidresults
Education: Studies show how much work needs to be done to get our kids back on track in California
A recent study by Edsource gathering data from 84% of schools in California shows that we still have a ways to go to get everyone back in the classroom. For Charter and public school students the percentage of full-time in-person instruction is around 12% - 13% while for private schools the numbers increase to 60.6%. The below maps show schools by instruction type: Green = Full in-person Light Green = Hybrid Blue = Distance Learning Only Our teams are working with schools to help them reopen in the way they want to, including by using a range of sensor technology to assess the health of their spaces to guide decision-making. To find out more please contact us. To learn more: #education #learning #learningenvironments #california
Now Google Earth can show us how much the planet has changed in the last 37 years
Technology now is a very important tool to measure and understand the process of changes that the world has overcome. Google Earth launched a new version of its software with a new time-lapse feature that can exhibit the changes of the planet in the last 37 years. Urbanization, deforestation and global warming are the biggest stunning changes that appear in different regions. We live day to day without thinking about the long-term repercussions that our actions can have. It takes 37 years to really realize the drastic changes our planet is facing. How many years will it take for us to start taking action about it? To read more: To see the Global Earth Images: #rando #changes #planet
Global real estate Chief Executives provide key enablers to understand the industry changes
On april 21, the World Economic Forum released a report called ‘A Framework for The Future of Real Estate’, in which CEO’s from the industry shared their vision for the future of communities, cities and buildings keeping in mind important factors: liveability, sustainability, resilience and affordability. “Real estate stands at a crossroads as cities adjust to the new realities of a post-COVID era, climate change and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this transformation of real estate – and the market disruption that comes along with it – is long overdue but, if fully embraced, promises to help us all live healthier, happier and more connected lives,” said Jeff Merritt, Head of IoT and Urban Transformation at the World Economic Forum. Real Estate industry is challenged to make a different path towards a healthier future and sustainable impact. To optimize buildings now means to get detached from the usual action of rearranging spaces, and thinking about energy efficiency, digitalization, users behaviours and circular economy. The changes towards a more sustainable way of operating and designing is imminent. ‘The Future of Real Estates’ exposes key enablers that industry leaders can take in count and use in order to measure if they are providing real estate options that are liveable, sustainable, resilient and affordable. Accelerating digitalization and innovation to address everything from construction costs to the occupant experience. Value-proof business cases that are transparent and demonstrate a clear return on investment in relation to technology, sustainability and affordable housing. Prioritizing talent and knowledge by upskilling existing workers and attracting talent dedicated to areas of innovation while ensuring diversity and inclusion. Engaging stakeholders, throughout the industry value chain and within the local community, to ensure projects are mutually beneficial. Ensuring regulatory frameworks effectively address supply challenges, sustainability goals and provide proper zoning and density. To read more about the article: To read the ‘A Framework for the Future of Real Estates’ report: #systemoptimization #decision #key #realestates
Sensors and customization will drive the return to the office
A recent article in Architecture Daily looks at how sensors and comfort surveys will play an important role in bringing people back to the office. “After a year of living in spaces where they have a high level of personal control, returning building occupants will likely bristle at the standard one-size-fits-all method of building operations. Occupants will desire their offices to accommodate their comfort needs, and building owners will have to provide safe and comfortable spaces to draw people back. Comfort surveys and applying the data collected to building operations will be crucial for navigating the shift in comfort expectations.” While some employers have considered the idea of keeping employees working remotely, there is a big possibility that in several industries the return to the office is imminent. But how do we create safe places and environments to keep employees happy and secure? The answer to the question in part lies in the ability to measure our spaces. Data given by pre and post occupancy sensors is key to determine how spaces perform when occupied and how to adjust them. Technology and sensor systems can provide design teams and clients objective information regarding the impact that the environment has on human health. “Sensor information can translate into practical solutions such as the ability to light specific areas rather than entire office floors. Such data could also help establish staggered work schedules so that not all employees have to share the same space at the same time. With multiple devices placed in a room, employers can make nuanced adjustments to improve the comfort, health, and safety of their workers. ” MKThink is working with sensors in all of its projects to have good information to drive decision-making. Learn more by contacting us. Or to read more about today's article, click here: #sensors #spatialintelligence #safeplaces #safeenvironments.
Post covid era: The six most remarkable trends in architecture for buildings and offices
It has been a year now, since the pandemic changed everything in our daily routines and ritualities. The way we use spaces, buildings and offices is different now, so that explains why new trends in design and architecture are beginning to appear. Just like any other strong event, the pandemic has marked us and made us think about new priorities in terms of interaction and cohabiting spaces. Recently, at Bisnow's D.C. Architecture and Design Update webinar several trends were exposed: Architecture is pulling design elements from hospitals and healthcare spaces into commercial properties in order to create healthier spaces. Increasal of the unit sizes and adding outdoor spaces. Food delivery hubs: lobbies that can handle deliveries, fully equipped even with refrigerators. Flexible workspaces areas: “such as phone booths, huddle rooms and WiFi-enabled outdoor terraces that give people a variety of places to take their laptops”. Antibacterial surfaces that prevent the spread of viruses: contratists and architects are demanding surfaces that can be easily sanitized. Prioritizing the air filtration systems in any design or construction. “Perkins Eastman Managing Principal Barbara Mullenex, whose firm leads a team of architects designing D.C. megaproject The Wharf, said the firm has been pulling design ideas from healthcare facilities into other product types to make spaces safer. How do you keep infections down in a cancer center?' Mullenex said. ‘It was interesting because that technology — it's not just a product, it's also about air pressure and pressurization — it really had a big impact on how we look at design of all spaces from hotels to schools’.” As we can see, changes are evident, pandemic has forced everyone to acknowledge the importance of health and wellness when it comes to spaces. Sharing, interacting and working in proximity with other people needs to be rethought and flexible. To read more: #healthyspaces #healthyenvironments #spaces #health #security
Pandemic challenges educational institutions: Gamification is the new answer?
A recent study made by MIT Sloan School of Management has shown that by borrowing different tools of the gaming industry, online learning becomes easier for students. They connect better with the lessons and activities and it also improves the learning outcomes. “Gamification could be revolutionary for education, and a godsend for students with more visual and collaborative learning styles. Take the chat window, which facilitates the wisdom of the crowd. With technology, we can engage a much broader set of students with diverse learning styles, and supercharge the impact of their efforts. Even after this pandemic is over, there's no putting this genie back in the bottle”, says Andrew W. Lo, Professor of Finance at MIT's Sloan School of Management and Principal Investigator at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Now, more than ever, the pandemic has challenged educational institutions. Traditional teaching methods cannot be used in the same way in the digital field. Students tend to be more attentive when they are close to their classmates and in a classroom. Gamification can create the same engagement and attention in an online setting. Starting to work with tools that come from the gaming world can be beneficial for learning. “The ideas and techniques the researchers borrowed from videogame makers include using strong narratives throughout their lectures, providing students with constant streams of input that engage as many of the senses as possible, and giving them opportunities to join in the action to keep them feeling connected”. Other key points to take in consideration: The study also showed that gamification in online classes provided greater opportunities for: Networking: class interaction allowed students to connect with people from other countries and industries easily. Mentorship: Interaction with industry leaders. Experiential learning: connecting with the class by engaging different senses and taking action Career development: Research projects with real companies that allowed them to get job interviews To read more: #education #learningenvironments #digital
How Urban design can improve communities?
Urban Planning and design have an important value when it comes to community. The Edward J. Boustein School of Planning and Public Policy hosted different panel discussions to talk over the key role of spatial planning to cover the needs of various social and cultural heritages. Design needs to be about people, the investment on the environment is important, but in order to create community, the center of every plan or action must take in consideration either people in the space or the cultural and social background of a community. “Charles T Brown, a senior research specialist with the Alan M- Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) points out the importance of social history, allowing for an understanding of why gentrification happens and how it devastated or completely nullified the traditions of each area”. What are the areas in which design needs to focus in order to create community? Safety: cities need safer spaces for different demographics. Integration: design values should take in count current forms of segregation and disparity. Security: structural security in the resources have to be on the core of design. Culture and History: design and urban planning most preserve and cohabit with the heritages of a community. At MKThink we use a collaborative Design-Thinking process, reinforced with data that we collect on human behavior and environment, to help you to find solutions that improve the quality of life of your communities. To read more about panel discussions about ‘Designing Value -- The impact of design’ click here #community #design #spaces #urbanplanning
Mom's Clean Airforce
Best friend and co-conspirator @Molly Rauch speaking at a Mom’s Clean Airforce press conference yesterday before the Senate Climate Vote. Joined by Senators Chuck Shumer and Ed Markey. Molly has been fighting the good fight about the social equity impacts of climate change for over a decade and has partnered with @MKThink to further national research around improving indoor air quality in schools. She inspires me everyday to focus on advocacy by whatever means available. "As public health policy director, Molly Rauch develops clean air campaigns, creates educational resources, manages media outreach, cultivates partnerships and collaborations with other organizations, and writes about public health, science, and policy", according to Mom's Clean Airforce. To read more: #learningenvironments #climate #healthyenvironments
How Smart Environments will Take Shape Post COVID-19
A recent article in IOT World Today looks at how COVID-19 is refocusing the role of smart technologies from energy savings to health issues such as social distancing validation and air quality. From the report: “...we are now seeing an increased focus on the use of smart environmental sensors that track noise, light, CO2, particulates and volatile organic compounds in the workplace.” At MKThink we're developing creative processes and tools to develop intelligent places that are healthier and more fun/productive/inspiring for people to be in. Currently, we're working with independent schools across California to install our Air Angel environmental sensors to better understand the air/thermal/light/noise quality of their teaching environments. To learn more about that effort visit us at . Additional areas of increased focus mentioned by the article: Smart Air Purification Smart Air Heating Targeted, Robotic Cleaning Spatial Density Measurements Touch and distancing detection To learn more about MKThink’s work in developing smart environments, or spatial intelligence, please reach out to Signo Uddenberg at to learn more. To read more from the IOT World Today articles, click here #spatialintelligence #smartenvironments #sensors
Accelerated Trend: Pandemic shows an increased demand of low-rise office spaces
Space needs are always changing and even more so as companies look post COVID-19. From temperature checks in lobbies to lines to get in and out of parking garages and elevators and a lack of operable windows and outdoor space, high-rise towers are becoming less popular office environments. People are going back to work and the office market is reactivating. But what are the tenants looking for? “We’ve seen tenants contemplating going from a more high-rise office building to a low-rise campus or free-standing buildings where they feel more comfortable controlling their own destiny and controlling their own space, said Natalie Bazarevitsch, a senior vice president at CBRE Group Inc”. What makes low-rise buildings so attractive? Common areas with fewer people Separate entrances Combination of indoor and outdoor environments Free control of your space High-rise buildings can be adapted to satisfy the new user’s needs by adding features that make their spaces safer, for example, terraces and balconies. “Chung said some high-rises are even tearing down or pushing back walls to create outdoor terraces.” But this is not the only new trends in the market. Experts are also noticing that as well as demand for low-rise suburban offices buildings many companies are embracing a ‘hub and spoke' organizational model. “With a hub-and-spoke approach, a company may have one big office space in an area like downtown and smaller satellite offices in more suburban areas near where some employees live. That arrangement gives employees the option to gather at a central hub and to work out of the “spokes” at other times”. As these trends continue to reshape the workplace environment, we're working to help clients re-optimize their buildings and space portfolio for the future. That might mean getting rid of space you currently have, or reimagining it, or simply rescheduling how your teams use it. Whatever it is, our role is to help you think through it and make the best decisions to match your space to your organizational objectives. Read more: #systemoptimization #officemarket #tendency #spaceoptimization