One of the most costly, time consuming and damaging aspects of America’s economy and environment is that of getting people to work. As American cities have grown into extended metropolitan areas and now mega-regions, they have become more polycentric; yet, the centralized business office method persists. Major organizations (both public and private) and corresponding local economic development policies preserve this legacy 20th century model. As the transformative and disruptive power of information technologies has chipped away at traditional organizational structures, the opportunity now exists to create a more effective, resilient, secure and equitable distributed organizational design.
Michael Shear reiterates the premise of my recent eBook Last Rush Hour: The Decentralization of Knowledge Work in the Twenty-First Century. In the book, I cite Shear’s concept of utilizing information and communications technology to redistribute knowledge work out of congested downtown metro centers to co-working facilities located at the edges — where housing is affordable and where much of the workforce lives. Here, Shear posits doing so would enable the U.S. federal government to better sustain operations in the event of an unforeseen event closing off access to downtown office buildings.