3./ Urban Spaces as a Platform for Growth

Over the past couple of days we have introduced the report that Gehl Architects have written together with Realdania By that examines the connections between public space, business, innovation and growth through a number of principles and best practice examples. The document can be downloaded here (Danish language version only).

Today we introduce some examples of successful integration of urban spaces into business environments.

Google in Silicon Valley California is an example of a business that realizes the potential for a complex urban setting. Although the Googolplex campus is not located in a downtown setting the campus simulates traditional urban patterns by providing traditional services such as dentists, supermarkets and cafes in a city like setting with streets and public spaces. Google also acknowledges the innovation of the employee as a valuable asset by providing 20% of office hours for “personal development” projects – this has lead to the creation of highly successful products such as Googlenews and Gmail.


SEB Bank in Copenhagen has constructed a new domicile at the harbor front which integrates a public park around the office buildings. The high architectural quality of the space attracts many users and has quickly established extensive knowledge of the brand, a new player on the Danish financial market, through the imagability of the complex.

Bryant Park in New York is a fine example of a public space that though extensive activities and programming attracts many different users including the business environment situated in the vicinity. Real estate prices in the area around the park have gained considerably due to the success of the park – to an extent where businesses sponsor events in the park as part of their marketing strategies.


London Southbank is a newly developed business area where offices and industries are mixed with commercial, cultural and housing developments. This creates an interesting hybrid space where business events take place within the public realm.

Partners & Spade, a NoHo based New York City advertising agency is located in a storefront office where the employees curate exhibitions showcasing the products they market together with art installations and peculiar nick nacks… this innovative collection of merchandise gives the agency direct input from the customers of the products.

Bloomberg, in London have a sponsored gallery on the ground floor of their building where they sponsor public art exhibitions. It functions as a corporate lobby as well as public exhibition space with evening openings and events supporting the night life of the predominantly office area of Finsbury Square. Arup have achieved something similar but on a smaller scale.



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