Geoffrey B. West is bent on learning what makes cities effective. One of the benefits of using technology is that well used and designed technology fulfills one of the core systems attributes of easily available and accessible information. How different might our cities be if it was possible to see where most of the garbage was coming from and reduce it? How about being able to go to an app on your phone and report a pothole? You can in some cities.
How about being able to report a malfunctioning copier by phone app? How about being able to track office supplies and reorder when needed automatically? These are all possible, but not happening that I know of.
What makes a successful city? Walkability, places to sit, green, green, green space, gardens, diversity, safety (which all of the preceding create), and of course no pollution. Now think about your business. Can people easily walk from their desk to the printer, the office supplies, the desks of the people they work with? Is your environment welcoming – green, composed of comfortable spaces to sit and talk? Why not? In fearing that people won’t work if they talk to each other, try innovating without it.
Right relationship is about more that just people getting along. However the lack of heart attacks in Roseto, Pennsylvania up until the 70s indicated that strong community and family relationships did help keep people healthy and happy, right relationship is also about the relationship living beings have with their environment – and that includes people. That’s why green works. That’s why walkability works. Happy employees are also productive employees. The only really productive employees are unhappy employees, and I’ll bet you don’t need a study to tell you that! So why don’t we listen to what we already know?
As we begin to grapple with cities (about 50% of us live in them now) and make them truly livable we are fulfilling the promise that humans are intrinsic to the web of life. Nature is crucial to healthy city life. We won’t have livable cities without it, so as we build green belts, and reclaim old railways for bike paths (Atlanta), and empty lots for urban farms (Detroit), we are bringing back nature.
Business parks are an opportunity to do that as well. Most often they are sterile affairs, which may offer trees and grass, they are really faux natural. They can/could provide gardening plots for fresh air breaks, walking and bike paths for lunch-time exercise, and shaded places for outdoor meetings.
We are just beginning to touch the tip of possibilities offered by combining technology, nature and Sustainable Values in the service of Life!