02 Mar 16

How Tech is Transforming our Experience of Spaces, Places and Cities

Author: Nik Karalis, CEO, Woods Bagot

Out of the multiple influences technology has on our daily lives the effect on how we plan, find, analyze and utilize space is perhaps the most drastic evolution in place-making in a generation. This peer-only conference will examine how the means and methods employing technology in the analysis and planning of the built environment is being adapted on multiple scales – the city scale, the building scale and the scale of the singular room. In presentations and peer discussions, we will look at the effects of technology in the development and commercial tenant sector in terms of how they are conceived, constructed and operated.



The TAMI sector has profoundly changed the New York Real Estate market. In the public and private sectors, data driven, research-based approaches are helping understand the variables influencing the dynamics in the composition of neighborhoods and their regeneration/evolution. People increasingly work ways different from the traditional office model and are committing themselves to developing neighborhoods, workstyle changes are redefining the design of our urban areas etc., brokers are using algorithms to determine and predict comparable markets, apps are transforming the transportation industry, crowdfunding is creating stakeholders in neighborhoods half a world away. The result of these changes are more granularly considered, more rigorously planned, economic, historical and environmental and socially oriented communities that foster innovation and better social chemistry – a commitment to smart, mixed-use development.


On the scale of buildings, the integration of technology has had a profound effect on the relationship of the edifice to the city and the physical and social “grid.” There is a wide spectrum of evolution. Advances in technology helps us understand, in many contexts, how to do building density well – by mapping floor plates, relational workflows for creative productivity and neighborhood dynamics efficiencies, etc. – and adapt to future work patterns. Clear advantages in cost savings, tailor-made solutions for different occupancy types and flexibility (and therefore future-proofing) have resulted from the advances being made in each of these areas. Buildings are now being developed with Co-working tenants as the main driver.  Additionally, the development of building operating systems which now have the ability to monitor and adjust mechanical systems for an entire portfolio of buildings in real time.


The changing relationship to work, play and the public and civic realm has also transformed space on the room scale. As technology continues to transform how we continuously blur the lines between social and business activities, agile and adaptable space that performs from one activity or moment to the next is the new desire. As a result, we are seeing more physical places that serve this new lifestyle: co-working offices, hoteling and hot-desking and live/work apartments, for example. We will discuss ways in which the sector will continue to evolve and shape our workspaces.

For the first time we can now build data driven algorithmic analysis and design models. This new era of evidence based planning and design at the city, building and room scales are emerging.