Polish urban centers have been occupying a leading position in the infamous rankings of the most gridlocked cities in Europe for years. This doesn't only result from perennial forgetting about the construction of communication infrastructure but also from extremely dynamic economic development in the last twenty years.
What’s more, due to concentration of office buildings in the city centers and their closest surroundings, the crowd during commuting to and from work in peak hours reaches its peak. Parking a car isn’t the only problem as leaving an underground garage on a busy street takes a long time too. The examples of the Warsaw’s Mokotów district or Wola district, which abounds in office buildings, demonstrate that this phenomenon is quite common. The problem concerns regional cities which have already become mature office markets. The cities such as Krakow or Wrocław have already reached the level of 1 million sq. m of modern office space.
In order to improve this situation, there must be a change in the way of thinking about any office location. Instead of placing the company in a building situated in the strict city center, there is a need for creating work places in a friendly neighborhood, in close proximity to housing estates, especially in the neighborhood of employees’ places of residence. This influences the improvement of life and work comfort and limits the time spent in traffic cars, encouraging the employees to resign from commuting by car and choosing, for instance, a bike. An important element in such projects is organization of the plot around the office building and its closest neighborhood. The idea of placemaking is a perfect solution. It consists in creating an attractive public space in locations which haven’t performed public functions so far. The area in the closest surroundings of the office building may thereby gain a new life. The best results are achieved during combining several functions on one plot. There is no such option in closed city blocks in the city centers where adjacent office buildings are often located several meters away.
In order the space around the buildings could “live” after working hours, some functions are needed so to provide their users with a possibility of spending their free time in an attractive way. Restaurants, space for events, places for trendy food trucks or public WiFi zone are the main attributes of a friendly public space. Managers of the office buildings need to take care of both comfort and technical standards of buildings and manage the public space in such a way to maintain its attractiveness.
The change of performing work by users of office buildings requires the necessity of adjusting a lease offer. The space for serviced and co-working offices in buildings make that the user profile may change. Office isn’t only a “modern factory” but also a small town for different people. Office buildings are becoming a service space which is available not only to tenants but also to neighboring inhabitants.
However, multi-use projects that combine all kinds of activities of the modern city require planning of their execution in a longer period of time. Such situation forces the necessity of creating dedicated usable functions at the design stage as to leave nothing to chance.
The example of Promenady Business Park executed by Vantage Development shows that it’s actually possible. Other office buildings such as Epsilon and Zita were built simultaneously to the adjacent residential development and services dedicated to a large group of recipients. The same situation occurs in the case of Port Popowice executed by the developer from Wrocław. The initial concept envisages a harmonious connection of residential buildings, office space and service premises. The heart of the whole project will be a revitalized harbor basin, that is an attractive recreation place available to both inhabitants and employees.
At a time when employers fight for the best experts on the market, the office location in a friendly space constitutes an invaluable advantage. Humanization of work place is related to the office as well as the offer of services and facilities in a close proximity to the building, for which both investor and manager are responsible.
Commuting to work doesn’t have to be a torture, especially in a situation when a head office of a given company is situated right next to a place of residence in the closest neighborhood of a park or river. This is a vision worth achieving.