20170929

Click and mortar v. Click and mortar

Where you live, where you work, and where things happen are not necessarily the same places. Yet, even as technology abolishes distances, major trends tend to emerge from creative ecosystems that are not too stretched.

The model becomes more challenging where real estate and technology bubbles coexist. Will San Francisco ever recover its soul? How long will Berlin or Montreal remain affordable? Artists can hop from Brooklyn to Queens or New Jersey, but can they still feel the vibes when they return to Manhattan?

All majors are building artificial ecosystems around new headquarters, following more or less open patterns (See "Google's Gtown wins over ZeeTown and the Large Apple Collider" after "Zee Talk of Zee Town").

Somehow, these utopian projects celebrate urban failures, a mutual transplant rejection.

If startup ecosystems often play crucial roles in urban regeneration, it's more complex for big players to play god beyond a simple hotspot, such as a Google Campus for instance.

Xavier Niel's Station F is truly monumental, but neither open, nor really connected to its direct neighborhood - how many smaller fishes will fray near this titanic aquarium? how far can it stretch and transform eastern Paris?

Talking about massive concrete platforms... I'm also curious to see how my beloved Seun Sangga will evolve. The city of Seoul wants to turn this whale of a building into a startup hub, leveraging its unique DNA. But can you force it down its throat? Can the fragile ecosystem survive storytelling, even well intended?

One thing seems clear: if good and sound urbanism can foster and nurture innovation, you shouldn't overplan, and you should make space not just for the insiders and outsiders, but also for the fifty shades inbetween.

mot-bile 2017



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