Smarter Design

Megan Hotson


As the world’s population continues to grow, the number of buildings, towns, and cities will multiply to meet growing needs and expectations.

The key here is not about building more but building or designing with a smarter approach. Research shows that humanity is adding the size of New York City to the planet every 30 days. So how do we do it better?

Pre-existing buildings can be adapted to be made multi-purpose – supporting consumers in a multi-faceted way, and future spaces can be built smarter to pre-empt issues that could impact future ways of living.

The existing cost-of-living crisis is squeezing the budgets of households across the nation. Economic considerations will be key for brands to consider now, and in the future when building or designing new spaces.

As well as economic, environmental issues will continue to dictate our cultural cachet - how we live, work, and operate day-to-day. If buildings can be designed or re-purposed in a smarter way to support our eco-system, towns and cities can have a less negative impact on the planet.

Pubs as Third Spaces

Consumers are using pubs as a third space to avoid turning their own heating on; they can save money by residing in a local pub – staying warm whilst they work.


The existing format of pubs does not favour or suit traditional working conditions. People need their working spaces to incorporate quieter areas for meetings, collaboration, phone calls, as well as plenty of power outlets, and seating to sit and work comfortably.

As we become more accustomed to working in unconventional spaces, we might see some changes in how these environments are designed in future years.

Recognising the frequenting laptop users at their venues, Young and Fullers has decided to support, and offer a solution for consumers whose budgets are being squeezed by rising energy bills.

Offering unlimited hot drinks and an offer of lunch and a drink for £10 per day across its 380 pubs. This collection of pubs is spearheading a new approach to accommodating nomadic workers.

Another motive for people to leave their homes, and work from a local pub is the growing feelings of isolation from people working at home.

A spokesperson from Fullers pubs explained: “For many people, the isolation of working from home needs more than just interruptions for Zoom calls and the pub provides a warm welcome and a social hub to operate from”.

Climate shelters in Urban Areas

Building better is detrimental to helping cities stay cooler, reducing human impact on the planet.

Barcelona’s Climate Shelters are part of the countries existing urban planning and their wider heat-reducing strategy to build smarter. From investing in fountains – to bio-diverse gardens, ‘green walls’ and solar shading.


The city previously had 70 climate shelters in 2021 - this number has more than doubled to 163 this year in 2022. The shelters are mapped digitally, and are hosted in parks, museums, libraries, retrofitted schools, and parks.

The ambition for Barcelona is to enable their entire population to be within at least a five-minute walk of one of these shelters by 2030. This will especially help support the 42% of local households who struggle without air conditioning in extremely hot and humid summers (Fast Company, 2022).

Other city initiatives have demonstrated a citizen-centric approach by expanding green infrastructure, improving access to urban gardens or parks. This will have the greatest impact in lower-income neighbourhoods, or towns where parks and green spaces are few and far between, a phenomenon referred to as the “park equity gap”.

TOO Takeaways:

- Hospitality venues can capitalise on changes to our economic climate. Adapting their physical spaces, offering flexible working spaces for people, making their service multi-faceted. As well as this, it demonstrates an understanding and empathy for people who want to reduce their energy usage at home by working elsewhere.

- Civic branding is key in the current climate. Looking to solutions to help guide, or support your consumers, empowering them as citizens will ensure your brand is future proofed - softening the effects of global volatility for your consumers.

- Building, or designing smarter has important social ramifications. By investing in a smarter urban planning – cities can be made more equitable for people, helping reduce issues pertaining to social inequality.

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