Serendipitous Interactions: Good for Cities, Good for Companies

A rambling walk through New York City, with no destination in mind, reveals to FT columnist John Kay the value of unplanned social interactions - a value that's behind Yahoo’s recent policy limiting telecommuting.

Kay finds analogies between the vibrant city treasured by Jane Jacobs and the vibrant organization sought by Yahoo's Marissa Mayer in her recent "retreat from home teleworking." Both, he says, result from a recognition of the value in unplanned social interactions.

"The enthusiasts for the virtual organisation, like the designers of the planned city, seek to impose a structure of rational organisation on a system they understand only imperfectly. Teleworking is the equivalent in cyber space of the corridor of offices, each with its own closed door. Modern office architects have abandoned the corridor in favour of open spaces where communication does not require the deliberation involved in opening an office door, picking up a telephone or sending email. 'Communications and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side' – the memo is Yahoo’s, the sentiment is Jacobs’."

Full Story: New York’s wonder shows planners’ limits

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95