What is the best way to improve our buildings and cities?
Hack the City
What We Did
By conducting these design explorations and events in multiple cities, we were able to develop locale-specific design solutions, while exploring broader demands and trends in commercial development. Our goal is to use this process of engaging civic leaders and local stakeholders to improve and contextualize design solutions, and expand the scope and understanding.
The role of entrepreneurship in urban development, the influence of a thriving technology sector and workforce, and questions of placemaking and “stitching” together a disconnected urban fabric emerged as common themes across many of the cities explored. Questions around the right scale of development and the types of intervention needed were also frequent—in several projects, our teams chose not to focus on a specific building to hack, instead focusing on an entire block or district.
What This Means
Celebrate existing infrastructure. We observe a growing interest in “authentic” existing buildings in many cities. A hackable approach can preserve an older building’s character while improving performance and usability for modern tenants.
Learn from other cities. Opportunities and challenges must be identified at the local scale, but similar questions are often being tackled in other neighborhoods and cities as well. Integrate global knowledge and best practices into the design and development process.
Engage the public. Issues of authenticity, context, and history are nuanced and cannot be approached in a top-down manner. Engaging public and civic stakeholders in the process of hacking our buildings and cities is an opportunity to integrate with the community and better uncover opportunities, insights, and successful strategies.
John Adams, Peter Weingarten, Tim Jacobson, Sarah Jacobson, Amanda Allen, Iva Andrejevic, Elaine Asal, Theresa Broderick, Dorothy Devin, Marie Fernandes, Ehren Gaag, Shawn Gehle, Brenden Jackson, Sarah Jones, Chris Melander, Vanessa Passini, Michael Pecirno, Alfredo Ruiz, Jonathan Sandoval, Peter Stubb, Natasha Valldejuly, Brandon Walt, Li Wen, Maria Wolf