Dezeen Magazine

Future Cities by The We Company
Dror Benshetrit has co-founded the new venture. Photograph by Erez Sabag

The We Company hires Studio Dror to head up "future cities" initiative

WeWork parent The We Company has revealed plans to explore the design of cities of the future with a new initiative spearheaded by New York's Studio Dror and former Google executive Di-Ann Eisnor.

The We Company's new "future cities initiatives" plans to fuse together technology, data and real estate to find address issues surrounding contemporary urban life and design.

Announced yesterday, the project will be led by Israeli designer Dror Benshetrit and Eisnor, who will collaborate to head up the project, leading team of engineers, architects, data scientists and biologists in the venture, bringing together the experience from their different backgrounds.

Studio Dror to join The We Company's future cities

Benshetrit's eponymous firm Studio Dror has been involved in a number of projects that develop systems to connect people with nature and improve people's wellbeing through design – including the masterplan of Galataport in Istanbul and a proposal for a second glass dome in Montreal.

Eisnor, meanwhile, was previously director of growth for Waze, a GPS navigation app that offers live-updates with travel times and improved routes. Waze – which was founded by Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar and Uri Levine – sold to Google for over $1 billion (£755 million).

Future Cities by The We Company
Former Google executive Di-Ann Eisnor is to partner with Dror Benshetrit to head up The We Company's future cities programme. Photograph by Jennifer Hueston

Benshetrit's practice will also be involved in the project, as revealed in a statement issued by the studio yesterday.

"I am thrilled that the Studio Dror team joins The We Company's journey to reimagine not just the future of work, but of space and how we use it, and in doing so, help our cities thrive and become more livable, more human and more inclusive," Benshetrit said.

However it still remains uncertain whether Studio Dror will continue with its own projects outside of the initiative. Dezeen contacted the firm for comment but is yet to receive a response.

Initiative forms part of The We Company expansion

The "future cities initiatives" follows the recent transition of co-working company WeWork into wider parent brand The We Company.

Under this umbrella, the company is developing a range of initiatives, including WeGrow schools, WeWork, WeLive for co-living and the Rise by We gym.

The Made by We public cafe and coworking outpost also recently opened in New York's Flatiron neighbourhood, which signalled the company's grab for more commercial endeavours.

The design of these spaces is being spearheaded by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who was announced as chief architect in May 2018. So far his input has included designs for the first WeGrow school in Manhattan, featuring wood reading nooks and oversized green cushions.

Announcement follows number of "smart cities"

The We Company's expansion into urban planning and technology follows a similar move by Google parent Alphabet, which launched the Sidewalk Labs initiative to explore the design of cities of the future cities.

In October 2018, Sidewalk Labs released plans to build a new "smart city" within Toronto, which will harness technology for a new model of living.

Others proposals for smart cities include UNStudio's plan for the "smartest neighbourhood in the world" in the Netherlands and Zaha Hadid Architect's project for a smart city outside Moscow.