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Living small. Sharing more.

As affordable urban living spaces get smaller, designing areas where people can gather becomes more important. Enter Stantec’s R&D fund

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<p>Aeron Hodges</p> <p>As our urban living environment gets denser and denser over time, it's more important to find out where can people congregate, where can people take time off outside of their individual living units.</p> <p>Back in April of this year, 2016, we started an international design competition, a call for entry to design a social space.</p> <p>Fred Kramer</p> <p>We felt that there was a mismatch between what was being offered to consumers and what the consumer really wanted. Given all of the students and younger people that we're wanting to keep in our communities, rather than the brain drain of having them move to other places that are less expensive, we attacked with some of our best and brightest young professionals the issue of urban-housing affordability.</p> <p>The research group set out trying to solve the affordable housing crisis in cities like Boston by thinking &quot;living small and sharing more&quot; as the model.</p> <p>We decided to host a competition to invite bigger voices, not just from within Stantec, within the city of Boston, but over the whole world. We challenged the designers from around the globe to answer the question of what is a successful social space for urban dwellers who is now living closer and closer to each other?</p> <p>Billy Craig</p> <p>The winner was going to be able to show their design, showcase their design on the show floor at ABX, which is the second largest gathering for the design and construction industry in the country.</p> <p>And it's really important to note that, while we at the Boston Society of Architects and the ABX team can create this platform and this stage to showcase emerging professionals and a point of view on this evolving idea of social space, that we need support from the firms to be able to allow their employees to give the time and also to fund enterprises like this. We can provide a great platform but we can't always provide the funds to make this happen. Stantec has proven to be a phenomenal partner in that regard. They really empower their young professionals to be able to pursue things of interest to them that are also very relevant to the firm. And I think it benefits everybody.</p> <p>Fred</p> <p>It's incredibly valuable, at the end of the day, not only for Stantec, but for our clients. It's a wonderful way for people to engage with one another who have never worked together in the past. It's a wonderful way for us to glean from the work that the research teams do to be able to advise our clients.</p> <p>Aeron</p> <p>A lot of friends ask people on our team how we're able to achieve doing design research on top of day to day project work. It's only possible because the leadership from Stantec and the R&amp;D fund has put a focus on promoting what's innovative about our practice. To me and to people on our team, it's a really important resource. I think to the architecture community and the greater community, it's a gift to everybody that's involved.</p>

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