- Keenan Hossack
- May 5, 2022
Many articles posted by students on this site provide tips, tricks, and pointers on how to succeed in the program. With the goal of trying to provide some variety, my article will not do so. I will instead focus upon Ivey’s built environment, more specifically, its overlooked features that influence our lives and business education. These concepts stem from a book that changed my perspective on the subject of design: Happy City by Charles Montgomery. Its pages are chalked full of colorful examples and research on how a physical city, neighborhoods, and man-made environments can greatly affect a citizen’s life; Everything from their social life, family relationships, and most importantly, their overall happiness and emotions. Little things like how wider curvy racetrack-like roads in suburbs leads drivers to surpass the speed limit. How trees and greenery can instantly make a community more welcoming and happier, and how anti-dense urban sprawl enforces longer commutes, traffic, pollution, and reduced social life. I now attentively study my environment and surroundings whenever I travel to a new city, or even a new room in a building I’ve already been in, pondering how it might affect myself and those around me. This article will identify factors within the built environment of London and Ivey itself that have affected my life and experience over the past seven months.
One thing I particularly noticed throughout my time in London was the sheer number of trees and greenery within the downtown and suburbs. No wonder they call it the Forest City! I’ve used its wide array of parks and green public spaces to my advantage. A nice walk to school or down the river front always helps to calm the mind and provides a necessary distraction from the pressures of schoolwork. London is also a short commute to the border crossing for the United States and Toronto. This proximity eases the burden to conduct trips for vacation or for networking and work. The positive aspects of London are also conjoined with the negatives, such as continuous traffic and poor road design. Sidewalks in the city are often small and tight to two lane bustling routes, creating a hostile environment for pedestrians. This forces weary ones to take back-routes or even drive or bus to their destination. Those that drive are met with daily gridlock from an oversaturation of traffic lights and cars. Driving to the Ivey building at rush hour can often take just as long as walking on a weekday. A small built environment issue that has provoked frustration and a change of behavior in my own personal life.
Yet no matter the route taken; the Ivey building is a sight to see. The first time I walked in, the mix of stone, wood, and cement, gives off a rough yet refined modern look. It mirrors many corporate buildings, preparing students for their future careers not only in education but also in atmosphere. This theme extends to the classroom, with wrap-around lecture halls focusing on a central focal point, simulating the instructor as the head of the board-room table. The comfortable adjustable chairs and the surrounding small-classroom tiered-seating promotes a high-end environment for students to be comfortable actively participating in class discussions and leaving no place for students to hide. Floor to ceiling windows drape the back wall, letting in natural light and additionally replicating boardrooms in high-rise offices. There are glass walls throughout the hallways and foyer which showcase the Ivey courtyard, a place for students to decompress after 24-hour cases or long hours studying. The cafeteria even hosts in-house chefs that prepare daily specials that students eagerly line up for. The building is one of the nicest places to meet, study, learn, and relax and it's evident that it was designed with the purpose to best serve Ivey business students.
The student experience may be the best designed part of Ivey. Faculty purposely selects a cohort filled with diverse individuals from diverse backgrounds with diverse experiences. That, coupled with the small class sizes and nearly uniform schedule structure, creates a designed environment that forces interaction and learning from each other. You quickly get to know nearly everyone in the program and realize the quality of people you’ll be spending the next year. I lied at the beginning of this article when saying I won’t be providing any tips or tricks. I will be providing one piece of advice. That is to truly appreciate your surroundings, both physical and the people, because it’s all those little details that have made my short time here special.