Factors to Consider In Selecting an Urban or Suburban Corporate Campus

Since their debut in the 1950s, suburban corporate campuses have come to symbolize the culture and success of U.S. enterprise. But could the era of the suburban corporate campus be nearing its end?

Moreover, given the impact these workplaces can have on both the environment and employee satisfaction, should it be nearing its end?

Those are the central questions put forth in Rethinking the Corporate Campus, a white paper published by the San Francisco Bay Area think tank SPUR. The report looks specifically at the influence suburban campuses have had on Silicon Valley, though insights gleaned from the paper could apply to companies seeking a new corporate headquarters elsewhere.

In creating “Rethinking the Corporate Campus,” SPUR solicited input from a 21-person task force of industry experts that included three urban planners with HOK’s San Francisco office: Steve Morton, regional director of planning + consulting; Rae Smith, senior urban designer; and Brian Jencek, director of planning.

Suburban corporate offices, with their large, single-level floor plates, have been instrumental in fostering the type of innovation and collaboration for which Silicon Valley is known. Yet these sprawling campuses—born in an era of cheap land and intended to be easily expanded or disposed of to accommodate Silicon Valley’s booms and busts—are no longer the automatic choice.

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