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July 04, 2018  |  permalink

The Property Voice: The Big Picture & Future of PropTech with Greg Lindsay


(The Property Voice, a UK-based podcast series devoted to real estate, interviewed me this spring. I’m unable to embed the audio here, but you can click through to listen on their site, or download an MP3 version. A short recap is below.)


Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Property Voice podcast. My name is Richard Brown and as always, it’s a pleasure to have you join me on the show again today.

I am joined on today’s show by Greg Lindsay, who is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker based out of New York. This week we let the reigns off a bit and venture into discussing the big picture, future housing trends and smart cities within the overall context of PropTech. If you want to know where the money is heading for the future as Greg puts it, then this one is for you! Greg is a very smart and interesting speaker, you will want to hear what he has to say…as much as what he doesn’t say…

The future of housing and how we live…here are some key themes, trends and takeaways from our discussion.

Megatrends can help to drive the future of property & PropTech – the shift to urbanisation, population growth, new mobility, energy-efficiency drives, health needs and technological advancement all featured as having an influence on our future property and housing needs.

Smart Homes & Smart Cities need to be more than just tech toys – Greg made the point several times that smart homes need to be more than an Alexa-enabled facility to be truly useful, such as being a part of micro-power hubs and connected to sustainable transport hubs. He also talked about the dark side of smart homes…

Community living will make a comeback – in pre-industrial times society tended to gather into small communities, which shifted towards individualism and the rise of the family as a community model over the past hundred and fifty years or so. The need to live more closely together and care for the elderly could give rise to greater community-based housing, be that through co-living buildings, inter-generational homes or more user-friendly homes for the elderly in the future therefore.

Technology can help us to connect better in a ‘real-time, real-place way’ – as Greg said, we have a surveillance society not a connected society right now. So, imagine how the technology behind apps like Tinder or Four Square could help to deliver relevant information about the people around us to help enable a sense of community living and camardaery.

Housing delivered as a branded, on-demand, consumer-oriented service offering will increase – several times, Greg made this point of the consumer demanding greater services delivered via different economic, sharing or crowd-based models throughout our discussion. Hospitality delivered by clever brands using new platforms sounds quite different to a landlord renting to a tenant they found on Gumtree doesn’t it?

The economics of real estate will also change – unaffordability, welfare funding and the demand for pay-as-you-use services will give rise to new models of funding and payment of property usage. Crowdfunding, Blockchain, big business or philanthropic-backed micro-communities and the charge by the unit approaches offered by Airbnb and WeWork are all examples of this emerging trend, starting within the commercial sector. In short, we might expect to see homes or properties become more of ‘membership asset model’.

In summary… mobility, liveability and collectively: some large players are now selling off suburban portfolios and instead focusing on the dense urban areas as ‘that’s where the money is’. As I always like to say…follow the money, then finding ways to densify cities seems to be where the money is headed.

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Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is the director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot CoMotion.  He is also a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic advisory firm based in Singapore, a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

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