What If: We Worked in Abandoned Buildings?
It is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands ΓÇô potentially even millions ΓÇô of buildings lying vacant and abandoned across the UK.
Recently, the trend for recycling old space for new offices has been growing as a symptom of troubled times and buildings from the historic to the relatively modern have been coming back to life as places of work.
But what if we took that trend to the extreme? What if every single unused building in the UK ΓÇô old stately homes, shop fronts, empty houses, all of them ΓÇô became brand new office space?
First, it would make sense to fill the existing office space that is going unused around the UK. So how much is there of that? HereΓÇÖs a couple of numbers we do know…
ΓÇó Empty government office space is estimated to total around 5 million square feet.
ΓÇó Empty office space in the City of London is put at around 10 million square feet.
It is unknown how much empty office space is in each town and city around the country, but based on how much is in the fairly-affluent City of London, itΓÇÖs safe to say thereΓÇÖs a few million square feet lying unused out there.
Now supposing we also took to empty residential homes and shop fronts? Based on the average size of a UK home and retail outlet that leaves us with the following surplus:
ΓÇó An estimated 914,000 empty houses could yield around 750 million square feet.
ΓÇó 48,000 empty shop fronts offer up a rough average of 96 million square feet.
So far, and thatΓÇÖs not including all the empty offices in the hundreds of towns and cities around the UK, thatΓÇÖs a massive 861 million square feet of empty space.
Taking into account heritage buildings in the UK, of which there are hundreds on the ΓÇÿLost HousesΓÇÖ register, let’s say around 50 abandoned stately homes could be salvageable. At an average 20,000 square foot each, thatΓÇÖs another 1 million square feet of heritage office space.
So what does that leave us? LetΓÇÖs round up to include all the empty spaces we havenΓÇÖt accounted for in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to bring you an estimated total of around 1 billion square feet of empty space.
Recently, the average workspace per person in the UK private sector was judged to be around 120 square feet. With all this empty space lying around, that makes room for nearly 8.5 million people to set up shop and get to work.
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