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Author Topic: Remote working: How cities might change if we worked from home more  (Read 461 times)
grahame
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« on: June 01, 2020, 09:06:51 am »

From The BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

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Remote working: How cities might change if we worked from home more

For many of us, our homes have become our workplaces over the past few months, and a full return to the office still appears a remote prospect.

Major tech companies say they are open to their staff working from home permanently. Employees are coming to realise remote working is not only possible but, in some cases, preferable. A shift to a new way of working might already be under way.

Such a shift could have profound implications on our home life, and by extension on the life of our towns and cities: almost a quarter of all office space in England and Wales is in central London alone.

To understand those implications, we brought together four experts on city life, all of whom were working from home.

And by further extension the effect on public transport and climate change?
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2020, 10:17:31 am »

I don't think office working will disappear. It's still beneficial to have people in one room (or building) together and for them to get to know each other. But we might work two days in the office and three days at home, or a week here, a week there. Different patterns will obviously suit different jobs and businesses. Therefore we'll still have similar commuting patterns from residential to commercial areas, but fewer people at a time. We might also have smaller offices, freeing up a lot of buildings for other uses such as residential, which will of course alter commuting routes. If you live in the commercial zone, because it's also the residential zone, you probably won't use transport (other than feet or maybe bike or similar) so much. And if a move to smaller offices also means a move to offices in previously non-commercial areas, that's another change, perhaps to more dispersed commuting routes (so some people might be commuting from their flat in an former office building in the city centre to their office in a former residential area on the outskirts, but only a few days a week or month).
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2020, 10:22:05 am »

We've had a few threads that have at lleast touched on this topic, so in a way it is old news.

At the moment, nobody knows for certain what the future will bring in terms of home working, or indeed the use of public transport in general.

These are not matters that government can directly affect by any sensible law, edict, instruction or guidance, because it will come down to countless thousands of individual decisions being made by employers and employees all over the country.

In three words, wait and see.

In a few more words, but in a way related to the topic, today we find ourselves with a relaxed lockdown. How much diffrence will this actually make, I wonder, to the members of this forum? I'll hazard a guess of "not much" but I'd be happy to have that guess shot down in flames!
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2020, 11:01:38 am »

From The BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
Remote working: How cities might change if we worked from home more

For many of us, our homes have become our workplaces over the past few months, and a full return to the office still appears a remote prospect.

Major tech companies say they are open to their staff working from home permanently. Employees are coming to realise remote working is not only possible but, in some cases, preferable. A shift to a new way of working might already be under way.

Such a shift could have profound implications on our home life, and by extension on the life of our towns and cities: almost a quarter of all office space in England and Wales is in central London alone.

To understand those implications, we brought together four experts on city life, all of whom were working from home.

And by further extension the effect on public transport and climate change?

Good questions. Here are some more!

I presume all of us on this forum would wish for better rail services, and the presumption has been that more people using trains helps make the case for this.

But what does 'better' mean? More inter-city services? Better high-frequency local services? Nicer catering and comfort? Do we want more trains to existing destinations, or more choices of destination? These different definitions of 'better' are sometimes in mutual conflict. As we have seen in Bristol recently, an increase in frequency of London trains led to fewer paths for local services.

Meanwhile, a virtuous circle has begun in cities around the world. Because there are fewer cars on the road, roads are safe and the air is much, much cleaner. Hordes of people are discovering how easy it is to get around on a bicycle or on foot. Some of these people previously used public transport. Is it a bad thing if they never do so again?

Is 'bums on seats' the wrong metric when planning transport investment? Should we instead set a target of percentage of population within 10 km of a station, or 1 km of a bus? If we start to see sustainable transport as a right, this could help encourage people to abandon the burden of car ownership.

No doubt there will be some who will want to make more room for private cars, seeing them as a 'safe' way to get around. It is hard to see how this could be reconciled with the need to allow other road users the social distance they need. In a time of economic stringency, the financial (and political) cost of adapting cities to accommodate more cars will surely rule it out.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2020, 11:15:58 am by Red Squirrel » Logged

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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2020, 01:21:23 pm »

Meanwhile, a virtuous circle has begun in cities around the world. Because there are fewer cars on the road, roads are safe and the air is much, much cleaner. Hordes of people are discovering how easy it is to get around on a bicycle or on foot. Some of these people previously used public transport. Is it a bad thing if they never do so again?
Just picking up on this point. Yes, the air was much cleaner for a while. But it already smells much dirtier than it did at the beginning of April. And the background traffic noise is pretty much how it was in February.
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