Links for July 10, 2022
What to Read
🏢 The Office Tower Has a New Job to Do — Bloomberg
When we shape the spaces we inhabit, they shape us in return. And office building designers are at the forefront of what a future of remote work means for the commercial heart of so many of our cities:
Transitioning office towers to branded consumer lifestyle experiences is one of several approaches that have been advanced for reinvigorating moribund downtowns, such as commercial-to-residential conversions that turn office space into living space. Ramon Marrades, an urban economist who’s the director of the nonprofit Placemaking Europe, sees the rapid acceleration of this trend as “an attempt from real estate linked to global capital to reinvent itself as quick as possible.”
If it succeeds, the add-more-amenities approach could enliven business districts with new derivations of privately owned public space — a zoning tool introduced by New York City in 1961 that encourages developers to make indoor or outdoor parts of their properties open to the general public in exchange for additional floor area. But the proliferation of these hybrid semi-public urban features has also raised concerns about exclusion and privacy.
📉 Where Did the Long Tail Go? — Ted Gioia
I've written previously about the long tail — the idea that businesses and creators can increasingly thrive by leveraging the internet to reach niche audiences.
Ted Gioia argues that we are trending in the opposite direction:
[T]he Long Tail is a cruel joke. It’s a fairy tale we’re told to make us feel good about all those marginalized creative endeavors. Their happily-ever-after day will come—or so we are promised—because the Long Tail will rescue them.
But it won’t. We live in a Short Tail society. And it’s getting shorter all the time.
🙈 Most Afraid to Fail — Infinite Play
Nat Eliason asks and reflects on a thought-provoking question in this short piece:
If you are fortunate or unfortunate enough to wonder:
“What should I spend my time working on?
Then perhaps a better question is:
“Where am I most afraid to fail?”
For more on embracing failure, see "Set Out to Be Wrecked."