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The End of Central Business Districts?

“We go to CBDs because that’s where other people are, not because they’re wonderful places to spend time.”
Left to right: The Atlantic's Mary Louise Kelly, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Wingham Rowan of Beyond Jobs, and Bryan Boyer of the Makeshift Society speak at the CityLab 2015 summit in London.
Left to right: The Atlantic's Mary Louise Kelly, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Wingham Rowan of Beyond Jobs, and Bryan Boyer of the Makeshift Society speak at the CityLab 2015 summit in London.Melanie Leigh Wilbur

Will Central Business Districts eventually become a thing of the past? The idea of squeezing a city’s office space into a tightly confined central hub may soon start to seem as antiquated as tight-lacing a body into a Victorian corset, according to Bryan Boyer, partner at co-working agency Makeshift Society. Speaking during a discussion Tuesday on the future of work at The Atlantic’s CityLab 2015 summit in London, Boyer predicted that cities would further blur their divisions between downtowns and traditional residential neighborhoods.

“We go to CBDs because that’s where other people are, not because they’re wonderful places to spend time. In San Francisco and Brooklyn, real estate downtown is incredibly expensive and the quality of the spaces there isn’t that great,” Boyer said. “The strongest neighborhoods [by contrast] are really places where there are people working, people shopping, people relaxing in the park.”