Library of
Design, Art and Idea

Istanbul as the Office

20.02.2015
Vol. 6

Legibility, protection of intellectual property and emergency management are foundation principles for any city competing in the global city market. Istanbul has a great opportunity to build a dynamic synergy from the trade and tourism sectors, but currently both are exposed to unnecessary risk if these three principles are not addressed. Given the rapid unplanned growth of Istanbul, the construction standard only recently performing to international standards and a growing enforcement of local legislations, urban infill projects aimed to replace building stock are opportune and can meet international standards of life safety and ensure knowledge capital is proprietary.

I. The City Cities’ extensive networks of place are a precarious yet precious resource in the realization of future workplaces. In the hybrid work environment, the virtual environment houses an organization’s knowledge and information resources while physical environment fosters the value of the organization’s human capital. The future workplace in this context is a concern to any city competing in the New Economy defined by sustainability, ubiquitous technologies, continual renewal of resources, and a world more homogeneous and boundary-less. II. The City as the Office The ubiquitous city is achieved by the deployment of mobile, wireless, broadband technologies whose goal is to increase access, wealth, mobility and participation. Meanwhile touchdown centers, business lounges, convention centers, conferencing facilities and international venues are gaining popularity as critical environments for ways we work. For cities like Istanbul, a core of a regional economy, solicitors of international events and stewards of a cultural/tourism wealth, global expectations for robust urban environments to support these new ways of working and organizations’ distributed workforces is decisive as to which cities are chosen to host events and position workforces. When one computer many persons led our workplace ergonomics and socialization were central concerns, when one computer one person led building information infrastructure ‘intelligent buildings’ drove decisions in building design, today when many computers one person leads pubic space becomes integral to the variety of settings we employ in our virtual and physical workplaces. This shift away from the 20th Century office paradigm in its extreme proposes to resituate organization’s human resources traditionally housed in dedicated ‘office’ buildings to an organization’s virtual work environments coupled with individually owned spaces or in shared work environment on an ‘as-needed’ basis. Key motivations are to allow more control over the use of time and an ability to match the work environment to the tasks required. This transformation has given great importance to ICT support available to modify, alter or accentuate face to face (f2f) communication. It also blurs the boundaries of living, working and moving. This blurring makes space ownership less significant as space is purchased on demand, on an hourly, daily or monthly or service oriented basis enabling organizations to effectively integrate a wider range of urban work settings. III. The City as the Office Istanbul Legibility, protection of intellectual property and emergency management are foundation principles for any city competing in the global city market. Istanbul has a great opportunity to build a dynamic synergy from the trade and tourism sectors, but currently both are exposed to unnecessary risk if these three principles are not addressed. Given the rapid unplanned growth of Istanbul, the construction standard only recently performing to international standards and a growing enforcement of local legislations, urban infill projects aimed to replace building stock are opportune and can meet international standards of life safety and ensure knowledge capital is proprietary. A robust network of urba n amenities tofoster communication and networking will bring tremendous value to the cities ability to obtain and retain investment – including the influx of long overdue foreign investment. Organizations, Growth and Space Due to many tangible and intangible influences in the architectural, engineering, financial, construction and regulation sectors Istanbul’s building stock consists mostly of aging buildings and a scarcity of high quality office. The current available office assets to be low in architectural and technical quality and not only does this paradigm discouraged investors, but may give insight to the significantly low productivity measures observed in Turkish organization’s knowledge capital. Amenity Clusters More over, service and transit infrastructure needed to take full advantage of impromptu-workplaces and on- demand office space in the city is weak: Internet Café are still scarce (Airport, Taksim-Besiktas, Zincirlikuyu-Sisli, Levent, Maslak, Kozyatagi, Altunizade, Kavacik), Café Office is on rise in the past six months with Starbucks and Burger King. Professional Clubs to foster peer group interaction and networking outside the organization have not been formalized. Hotel Lounges are the most robust dimension of urban workplace amenities. They are extensively used and many are equipped with business centers and wireless access. Serviced offices/Drop-in work centers are offered exclusively by five star international hotels and Regus. Internalized the above support amenities that could otherwise be provided on-demand in the city. equipped cities are and will continue to be more attractive in the global city market to draw investment, tourism (conferencing) and act as regional economic centers (meeting points-living points) while catering to a workforce demanding the urban experience.
IV. The City as the Office Istanbul Trends Location-aware computing, citizen agents and interactive public space underpin the city as the office. These new tools exploit the opportunities of the one person to many computers paradigm. Location-awareness is driven by Geographic positioning system (GPS) and Geographic information systems (GIS). GPS enables us to get the right content at the right time while GIS have become essential for planning and modeling spatial strategic thinking. GIS correlates data to space and allows us to access both discrete and aggregate information of place The other critical dimension to Location Awareness are Citizen agent’s. Meanwhile, citizen agents articulate a group or individual profile, interest, location, habits and other attributes to access information, deliver information or connect people customized according to preference. Together GPS, GIS and citizen agents enable new opportunities to interact with the public space. As Turkey is in the privileged position of hindsight it can springboard directly into the next generation of f2f communication tools. Furthermore, local culture and interaction will shape unique ways of using the ubiquitous city infrastructures encouraging a distinctive contribution to international research and development communities from Turkish organizations – as seen in Korea. V. The City as the Office Istanbul Trends Blend it – Online and Offline The more we use the available technologies, tools and setting to intensify space, reduce duplication and discourage growth that overburdens our transportation systems the closer we will get to achieving our goals in the New Economy. Offline-Online This experience coupled with the ability to personalize experience can bring a new era of place-making for Istanbul’s organizations and public hybrid environments. At the same time, key concerns to any organization competing in a global market is to create new ideas and services, cope with changing market conditions or skill requirements, using the city in new ways to make the most effective use of limited time or resources, security and to provide the individual with the support that they needs while meeting the demands of modern business. Can Istanbul be a medium itself to foster rather than hinder these key concerns? Many international cities plan ‘Digital Cities’ to compete in the global city market. Yet Istanbul’s unique topography and urban geography give the city a alternative opportunity to transform its existing eight central business districts into a distributed network of IT enabled city as the office ‘nodes’. The nodes can then use the surrounding fabric, often rich with historic relevance and interesting anomalies into support centers and amenities generating the city as office network blending online and offline environments. Actions Four actions are suggested for Istanbul to become a ubiquitous city, the actions have both short term and long term implications: forceful penetration of ICT infrastructure (including GPS and GIS) to improved conditions for distribution of ICT tools and devices. This will allow a better understanding how to match the right information to the right place at the right time. Offline = Build-it make the broadband penetration 80% by 2010 Online = Enable-it with software and applications The legibility, security and access to this network of physical, hybrid and virtual places will reinforce that Istanbul is serious about becoming an international leader in the ubiquitous city market. Offline = Signage and Wayfinding Wireless Parks, LocAware SMS Tours Online = IP Protection Service providers to create a rich portfolio of value-added service to accelerate access to information in MMS, Blackberry or Citizen Agents. Turkey’s largest sector is tourism and Istanbul is a desirable place to visit culturally, historically, naturally and recreationally. A synergy amongst the interest groups (municipality, tourism and workplace) will render meaningful scenarios to capture conferencing, global meeting point and regional office centers. In partnership with the tourism and municipal investment network available online multi-media content and content customization will bring unique experiences to engage both online and offline places. Existing organizational and economic infrastructure which plays a significant role in the underpinning of robust facilities of the city on demand is tourism and education. The link of these services centers to the city’s existing attributes reinforces organizational culture and community. This network of service centers would dispense from the traditionally model of hotels to linked transportation stations/hub, historic town centers, cultural centers and other amenities. Offline = Serviced Offices/Business Lounges Online = Blackberry, Citizen Agent MMS Services a series of small, affordable and visible demonstration projects to endorse a mind shift to Istanbul as the Office. The demonstration projects are set in the public and semi-public spaces to encourage residents, visitors and investors to find new ways of communications that enhance their lives and engagement to the city – blending working, living and moving. Delighting our imaginations is an important place to start to explore new interactions moving towards Istanbul as Office. Non-threatening experiences of how to engage hybrid environments can inform us how interact, modify and employ meaningful arrangements when virtual places and physical place blend. For example, it can enhance our knowledge of the city, enrich our experience of place, personalize the urban environment, enable precise navigation of the physical city, transform the way we socialize, increase access to mindshare and assure the digital divide is not accentuated.
Vol. 6
Sustainability Erdal İnci Interview