Reshaping U.S. Downtowns: Momentum Grows for Office-To-Housing Transformations

Downtown Boston Office Buildings. Image © Shutterstock

Cities across the US are struggling to fill their office spaces. Major cities like Washington DC, Boston, and San Francisco have increasingly vacant downtowns, while the urban centers of small Rust Belt cities struggle to survive altogether. This trend is consistent beyond the US, with over three-quarters of Europe’s office buildings at risk of obsolescence by the decade’s end. The cause of this, in most cases, is simple: an oversupply of offices and a shift towards remote work. These vacant buildings can trigger a negative domino effect of economic and social challenges for cities, and their surplus, coupled with a housing shortage, has sparked discussions among cities and architects about the impending necessity to transform offices into housing.

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