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Think like an economist

Some thoughts from Larry Weston “Many decades ago a surfer/property developer who’s work I admired told me that he would see a site and run the figures and development potential in his head. What would best work on the site?, shops or apartments?, a surf shack or offices?, how many could you fit on the site?, how much would that cost?, if you sold it or rented it what would be the yield.? If a sales yield was over 30% keep thinking, do a scheme. If it was under 30% forget it, move on.

This is not something you are taught in architecture school, but it is not far from the critical thinking skills that are promoted in some schools. My thinking has developed from just the economics or development potential around building to include increasingly broad concepts into the critical process like lifecycle costs, social capital, cultural significance, or detailed concepts places to meet or pause, spaces to contemplate, structures that help people work, structures that help people think or relax.

In my mind working out what to build is simple if my work place is efficient and I can do my job 5 minutes faster that is time for me to stop, have a conversation or a coffee, that is build the right structure and you can build social capital or health outcomes as well. In every design decision look for the multiple opportunities. The same concept can be applied to how to build and just as importantly when to build."