NOW MORE THAN EVER, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO
REIMAGINE THE FUTURE OF CITIES
Developers are transforming San Jose and connecting tenants to the city with abundant outdoor spaces.
Almaden Boulevard Tower, San Jose, California

For several years, we’ve been focused on the critical role of the world’s cities and our primary goal to design for people living, working, and playing in urban environments. Shaping the future of cities for the human experience has been our call to action and the centerpiece of our purpose as designers. That purpose is even more true now.

According to Gensler’s City Pulse Survey findings, people’s relationships with their cities are shifting as the pandemic continues to disrupt city life — in particular, persistent health concerns over the use of public transit. This is part of what’s driving a trend toward 20-minute neighborhoods, where every commercial, residential, and institutional need is within a 20-minute walk or bike ride of each other.

As we continue to emerge from lockdown living, the developments that motivate us to leave our homes will be the most in demand, yielding the biggest financial returns for developers and investors. We see this trend continuing to play out, which is why people’s health, wellness, and experiences must be at the center of our design decisions.

The pandemic is straining people’s relationships with their cities. Roughly two-thirds of urban residents who want to relocate say that the pandemic health crisis has made them more likely to move.
—Gensler City Pulse Survey 2020
THE PRINCIPLES OF THE 20‑MINUTE NEIGHBORHOOD

The concept of the 20-minute neighborhoods has every commercial, residential, and institutional need within a 20-minute walk or bike ride of each other. According to C40 Cities, here are the core elements of such neighborhoods:

Easy access to goods and services, particularly groceries, fresh food, and healthcare.
Clean air, free of harmful air pollutants, and public green spaces.
A variety of housing types, of different sizes and levels of affordability, to accommodate many types of households and enable more people to live closer to where they work.
Smaller-scale offices, retail and hospitality, and coworking spaces that allow people to work closer to home.

Explore Design Strategies for a Post‑COVID World

DESIGN FORECAST®2021
GENSLER RESEARCH INSTITUTE
RECONNECT
DESIGN STRATEGIES FOR A POST-COVID WORLD

Download Gensler Design Forecast 2021 (PDF)