Changing the locks at Lawnswood

In architecture, in making the layout of a building, adjacency is a scarce resource. You can never satisfy all of the adjacency requirements that exist. Everybody would like to be next to the coffee machine and simultaneously next to the best view and simultaneously next to the people they work with. That’s impossible.

When you introduce wireless connectivity, though, you eliminate a bunch of requirements for adjacency. You no longer have to be adjacent to a network jack in order to have connectivity, or adjacent to paper files in order to do your work. You can take them, sit down anywhere, and work.

What happens then is that adjacency demands that had previously been latent and unsatisfiable have now become satisfiable, so they take over, and reclustering begins to emerge…. If there’s been a kind of latent demand for clustering, socializing, serendipity, getting together, all of that kind of stuff, if you loosen up the old adjacency constraints people are going to satisfy those demands. If people are working in loud environments and they’d really like to be working in the garden or in the sunshine or something, then that’s what’s going to happen.

MIT professor William Mitchell, quoted by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.