From Central Business Districts to Central Social Districts: Transforming America’s Downtowns to Save Them
Wed Apr 10 2:30 PM — 3:30 PM (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time New York Hilton Midtown - Level 2, Sutton South
Current challenges to America's office sector need not spell the death of the American city. In fact, urban office buildings and their surrounding downtowns have a distinct advantage over suburban or nonurban developments. Data suggest that while American office workers prefer the flexibility of work-from-home or hybrid work arrangements, they are still flocking to cities to recreate. This change began even before COVID, as miles of waterfront from Pittsburgh to New York were rejuvenated and activated with retail, restaurant, park, and residential uses. These well-programmed, lifestyle-focused urban developments have proven to be attractive alternatives to an increasingly online world and magnets for investment and urban innovation. The office sector's headwinds are an opportunity to rethink America's downtowns by transforming single-use, commuter-focused blocks of office buildings into places where people want to spend their leisure time—replacing central business districts with central social districts. By thinking of our downtowns as homes for social activity, we can expand the realm of what's possible and fill city centers with activity, life, and commerce.
Principal Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (International) PA
Forth Bagley, AIA NCARB Yale University, BA + Yale School of Architecture, M-Arch Since joining KPF in 2005, Forth has led the design and management of some of the most impactful urban projects in the world. He brings a programmatic…