The housing crisis is a hot topic across the globe. In the US, Bernie Sanders has pledged to end the housing crisis by investing $2.5 trillion to build ten million permanent affordable housing units if he becomes the next President. In the UK, the housing shortage has been a major theme in the manifestos of all major political parties during the recent general election. Meanwhile in Italy, there is growing interest in ‘smartisation’ – with Milan now hosting cutting-edge new urban developments.
Establishing more workable and effective solutions to issues in the housing sector is a top priority within the real estate world. To productively move forwards, there are three key concepts we should all take into account to best respond to the many challenges faced by the sector.
A service-centric approach is gaining increasing popularity. The previous focus on square footage is no longer the top priority, as consumers look beyond the four walls of their homes. Value-adding services such as book-swapping, car-pooling, shared communal spaces, public gym access and community-led activities now take precedence. Residents desire to feel part of a community where a more cohesive and socially inclusive environment is promoted and neighbourliness is encouraged.
This change in attitude marks a shift away from the old adage of ‘location, location, location’. The introduction of services to benefit the whole community has resulted in residents being less interested in the location and space of their homes. Our projects, Smart City Laguna and Smart City Natal, integrate a wide variety of solutions. The Innovation Hub serves as a meeting point for communal and cultural activities and also houses the smart gym that uses kinetic energy to power mobile devices. Services such as these add long-lasting value. Not only has the city become a hotspot, the halo effect is also felt within surrounding areas.
The integration of technology, whether big data, artificial intelligence or remote management, is highly sought after among consumers. Consensual data collection provides incredible benefits in helping residents save money and therefore improves their quality of life. With artificial intelligence and automation, for example, we are able to track, monitor and adjust utility power supply as needed across developments.
The management of such data can deliver comprehensive insights into consumption levels, which enables us to negotiate better supply contracts at a district-level. Residents then receive personalised insights into their day-to-day consumption habits remotely and in real time via the Planet App. This removes an everyday stressor and allows them to focus on other important parts of their lives.
Environmental and sustainability issues are now more prevalent than ever before. Consumers are increasingly concerned with the impact of the way they live their lives – from where they live and the food they eat, to the clothes they wear and the means of transport they use. There is also growing demand for innovative solutions to help offset people’s carbon footprints and create sustainable, environmentally friendly areas.
Technological advancements have made it possible to integrate energy efficient solutions in the creation of new, long-lasting green spaces. For example, the adoption of intelligent LED lighting systems to light public areas has seen a great reduction in energy consumption. What’s more, areas for trees, plants and wildlife are able to remain permanently hydrated thanks to smart irrigation systems.
Global CEO, Planet Smart City