New social network wants to change how young AEC professionals connect

 In Startups, Workplace

As a new generation of freshly minted architects, engineers, and construction professionals enter the field, one company is trying to get ahead of the curve with a social network for people who “shape our cities.” Named Ticco, after the nearly 10,000-year-old Norwegian tree Old Tjikko, the social network is designed for Gen Z and Millennial AEC professionals, as well as others who need their expertise.

The project is the brainchild of Katie Rispoli Keaotamai, who previously led the California nonprofit We Are the Next and made the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 40 Under 40 list last year. She is perhaps most famous for her successful attempt in 2015 to preserve the first Taco Bell. Ticco, which is being developed with the design studio Each + Every, could be seen as an extension of the work of We Are the Next, which apart from historic preservation, leads workshops with youth to help them engage with natural and urban landscapes and the communities that surround them.

Ticco promotional image

(Courtesy Ticco)

Ticco hopes to bridge gaps between siloed AEC professions by encouraging communication and collaboration. The company also wants the broader community to see what the next generation is thinking, and encourage greater access and diversity within these fields. The goal, said Keaotamai, is that “professionals who positively build and shape cities will interact when they want to, and not just when they have to.” She goes on to say that she believes the network “has the potential to change the way we as AEC professionals understand one another, initiate working relationships, and approach problems in the built environment.”

Much like existing social media, Ticco will give users their own customized profiles and feeds, which will include content from those they follow and other content from across the platform. While members can follow other users and can like content, those metrics aren’t publicly displayed, doing away with sometimes toxic aspects of social media. Ticco intends to use likes to adjust what content gets highlighted to other users. And, of course, there will be individual and group messaging.

Ticco promotional image

(Courtesy Ticco)

That platform will also encourage groups that serve the public, like government agencies and community organizations, to pair with members who have particular expertise in order to “affordably kick-start projects that aim to make their city safer, more accessible, and more fun to live in.”

There will be membership fees, which the company says will be about a third less than those of typical professional organizations, and, as the company points out, Ticco’s resources will be available all day every day, rather than just at select conferences or networking events. Additionally, for each person who joins, the company will donate $25 “to support educational initiatives and internships that help diversify our members’ professions.” The company will also branch out with retreats, discussions, and partnerships, the first of which will take place next month in Long Beach, California. Ticco is accepting applications for its first 100 spots, which are open to anyone in AEC-related fields with between 2 and 15 years of experience.

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