The future of cities lies in vibrant civic spaces

Sometimes articles don’t necessarily bring new facts, but they attach some exiting ideas together in a useful synthesis. This is what this article on people not returning to the office is doing. We already know that on typical days offices are still sitting half-empty, “the Kastle Back to Work Barometer currently hovers around just 41%.”

We already know about the idea of 15 minute cities, and we already know that great public infrastructures and spaces are vital to a thriving city. Here, the author ties all those things together; city centers are emptier, people still love to live in great cities, and cities are best when they are great places for living together, which requires great places to spend time together.

Now with cities fully opened, it is even more necessary to double down on these investments in parks, community spaces, and cultural attractors and anchors within our cities. To meet the times we are in, cities must support outstanding public spaces and places. Investments in parks, libraries, community centers, transportation options, and room for people to walk, bike, and get around without cars, is how this works.

The article argues that instead of trying to get offices back to full occupancy, we need to accept that more people will keep working from home, working from third places, and working from public spaces. A growing number of people can work where they live instead of living where they work, and that requires functional, pleasant, easy to walk and bike through cities.

Cities—at their best—function as the center of community, new ideas, and progress. All desires, wants, and needs should be located within a 15-minute walk or bicycle ride from one’s home. Paris is a clear example of why 15-minute cities focused primarily on the urban experience—not in-office work—are the future of cities.

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