Not so Square Mile

City © alamy ktyrmfweb

With co-working spaces and start-up incubators a growing trend in the City of London, developers are finding that flexibility and fun public spaces are what occupiers want

An extra 1,200 start-ups a year started calling the City of London home in the six years to 2016, with the total number of businesses housed in the Square Mile soaring by 41%.

This statistic, from the City of London Corporation, encapsulates how the City is changing. The once financial-services-dominated Square Mile has seen a shift in the size and style of business taking up space in major commercial developments, forcing developers, planners and designers to create increasingly flexible workspaces.

With the number of tech firms and start-ups in the Square Mile on the rise, the average age of its workers is falling, with 61% of City workers aged between 22 and 39 – compared with 40% across England and Wales – which is also driving changes in what the City has traditionally offered.

This demographic change has influenced the design of both office and public space within the City’s limits, with the demands and desires of these younger workers driving a push for more bars, restaurants and retail outlets.

As the face of the City changes, those responsible for determining its future find it increasingly necessary to consider who will be using the space, how they will be using it – and how what happens in the Square Mile can be an indicator for change in other locations.

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