At the peak of the Industrial Age in the mid-twentieth century, the “knowledge worker”—those who work with information and add value to it — came of age. The workplace: an office building located downtown or in metro area suburban office park. Automobiles, cheap fuel and high-speed highways led knowledge workers into a split life, working in a distant office while living in another and commuting daily between them.
As the twenty-first century gets well underway, that arrangement is becoming less and less feasible. Metro areas are plagued with rush hour traffic congestion as high housing costs force workers to their distant peripheries and beyond in search of affordable housing. The once quick commute has grown longer, robbing knowledge workers of personal time and wellness and giving rise to “super commuters” who commute three hours or more each workday.
In the 1980s, the personal computer and the arrival of the internet the following decade effectively decentralized knowledge work, making it possible to work and collaborate with colleagues and support customers from most anywhere. These revolutionary advances in information and communications technology (ICT) are to the twenty first century what automobiles, office buildings and high-speed highways were to the twentieth.
Today’s knowledge workers are recognizing the shift and increasingly seeking opportunities to leverage ICT to avoid the commute and relocate to less congested areas with lower living costs and better quality of life.
Newly updated and expanded, the second edition of Last Rush Hour: The Decentralization of Knowledge Work in the Twenty-First Century describes this mega shift and its profound implications for residential settlement patterns, management challenges, and needed infrastructure. This book would be of interest to knowledge workers, business leaders, elected officials, urban and regional planners.
Available October 1, 2019 at the Amazon Kindle Store.