London’s Global Office Economy : From Clerical Factory to Digital Hub book cover
1st Edition

London’s Global Office Economy
From Clerical Factory to Digital Hub

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 7, 2021
ISBN 9780367646721
April 7, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
368 Pages 97 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

London’s Global Office Economy: From Clerical Factory to Digital Hub is a timely and comprehensive study of the office from the very beginnings of the workplace to its post-pandemic future. The book takes the reader on a journey through five ages of the office, encompassing sixteenth century coffees houses and markets; eighteenth century clerical factories, the corporate offices emerging in the nineteenth, to the digital and network offices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

While offices might appear ubiquitous, their evolution and role in the modern economy are among the least explained aspects of city development. One-third of the workforce use an office; and yet the buildings themselves – their history, design, construction, management and occupation – are rarely discussed. This book examines everything from paper clips and typewriters, design and construction, workstyles and urban planning to explain the ‘office economy’.

Using London as a backdrop, Rob Harris provides built environment practitioners, academics, students and the general reader with a fascinating, illuminating and comprehensive perspective on the office. Readers will find rich material linking fields that are normally treated in isolation, in a story that weaves together the pressures exerting change on the businesses that occupy office space with the motives and activities of those who plan, supply and manage it.

The story of our unfolding understanding of offices, the changes through which they have passed, the nature of office work itself and its continuing evolution is a fascinating story and should appeal to anyone with an interest in contemporary society and its relationship with work.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Recording: emerging white collar factories  3. Explaining: a facet of the city  4. Planning: a tale of indifference and ineptitude  5. Building: a triumph of hope over experience  6. Building: re-shaping a global city  7. Mediating: from advice to service  8. Working: from corporatism to individualism  9. Managing: from liability to corporate resource  10. Divining: from castles to condominiums

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Rob Harris is a consultant and analyst in the commercial real estate sector, where he has spent over three decades advising developers, investors, occupiers and public sector bodies. He was educated in geography and urban planning, and his interests range from the ‘workstation to the city’. Rob’s particular perspective is that he understands real estate as an outcome of social, economic and technological change, and translates the changes into practical advice on the design, development, management and planning of buildings.

Rob started work at design practice DEGW in the early-1980s, where he contributed to innovative work on new developments including Broadgate in the City of London and Stockley Park, Heathrow. He worked at surveyors DTZ and Gerald Eve in a research capacity; and was director of research at Stanhope Properties plc in the 1990s. Rob established Ramidus Consulting Limited in 2003 as a specialist, independent built environment research and advisory business.

Rob has a wealth of research experience that has involved projects throughout the property process, including design, development, management, investment and occupation. He has been involved in establishing and running a number of industry groups, including: CoreNet UK, Federation of Corporate Real Estate, Society of Property Researchers and Workplace Consulting Organisation. Rob presents widely on a wide range of property market issues, and he has published industry reports recently for the British Council for Offices, Corporation of London, Greater London Authority, Investment Property Forum and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.