Cityvision was generated within the practice as a vehicle for researching the wider implications of information technology on the built and natural environments. The study revealed that there was enormous potential for I.T. to help reinhabit the city. Unfortunately back in the mid 1990’s, when Cityvision was initiated, the way I.T. was being used predominantly by large corporations was to effect only the most obvious money saving efficiencies which either condemned people to work in isolated home working conditions or in architecturally vacuous ‘telesheds’ built outside of traditional town centres. Warning of these problems, BBM’s study then produced a range of measures which aimed to redirect this technology for more socially and ecologically beneficial results.
The central thesis of the Cityvision study is that everyday commuting can be substituted by flexible working both in terms of time and place. A hypothetical premise was proposed that thirty years hence, thirty per cent of the population might be teleworking to some extent and what implications would that have on the built environment.
To demonstrate the potential, a slice of London drawn from the business district out to a commuting suburb was used to demonstrate the changes to urban / suburban form. In the city, the major change would be a less pronounced ‘rush hour’, less congestion at street level and more office space changed into housing. In the innercity suburb, ‘community workstations’ would spring up to offer high density neighbourhoods to provide an alternative and supportive place to work remotely from the traditional office. In the outer suburb, purpose made or refurbished teleworking homes might turn dormitory neighbourhoods into tight knit local working networks, in turn stimulating fresh economic activity into ailing local centres.