Developers, real estate investors, and city governments are beginning to recognise the value of technology in planning and constructing our future cities, places, and spaces. Jason Hawthorne describes how PropTech is positively altering an industry that has relied on drawings, PDFs(opens in new tab), and email in the past (opens in new tab) So many of us across all industries were aware of the benefits even before the epidemic pushed mass adoption of digital — there is a multitude of game-changing technology available that makes our lives easier and helps us make smarter decisions faster and more efficiently. This is especially true in the field of real estate, planning, and development. Architects, engineers, and developers can now employ fully developed digital twins of cities that are exact to centimetres in their projects. The models offer amazing virtual reality(opens in new tab) experiences that immerse you in the digital twin and allow you to see new development plans as they would seem in real life. New technology has also made significant advancements in the way research is conducted, data is collected, and building is evaluated. Despite the fact that technology is now widely available, the property business has been slow to adopt it. Dry planning documents, which invariably end up stashed away on a council’s website, are still the usual technique of drafting, presenting, and submitting new planning applications. But this does not have to be the case; if we want to construct better cities, we must embrace technology in its entirety.
Are digital twins planning’s equivalent of sim cities?
Smart cities are the latest business buzzword. They cover a wide variety of new technologies, from self-driving automobiles to intelligent, AI-controlled public transportation, with the Internet of Things (IoT(opens in new tab)) connecting homes and offices more than ever before. So much of what makes a city’smart’ has to do with the way it’s created; it’s all about infrastructure, smarter buildings, and well-thought-out places. Building them necessitates a massive amount of spatial data gathered from a variety of sources. Collecting this data(opens in new tab) is one problem to solve (thanks to the growing number of sensors and IoT, it’s getting easier! ), but the data also needs to be standardised and presented correctly to be understandable and helpful. A fully formed, 3D virtual city can be placed here. A detailed ‘twin’ of a city can display data in real-time, allowing users to see how buildings use energy, how they are occupied, the potential for more accessible solar panels on all of the city’s flat roofs, and even how adding two more storeys to all residential buildings could solve the housing crisis. By combining all of the data into a single model, you may be able to locate the most suitable brownfield areas or new recreation spaces based on precise usage patterns. If this all seems a little SimCity to you, that’s because it is: why risk a poorly planned neighbourhood when you can test the ideas virtually first? Architects may use the twin to examine implications ahead of time and adjust plans before building costs spiral out of control.
Bringing the virtual world to life
Gaming’s influence does not end there. These digital twins are the foundation for more complex and innovative technology to be introduced. Virtual Reality (VR), which many of us are familiar with thanks to the PSVR and Oculus for gaming, is now widely available to assist in the construction of better cities. Working on developments in virtual reality allows planners, developers, and architects to move away from decisions based on two-dimensional representations or fly-throughs, which can have a direct impact on people’s quality of life, career opportunities, and health. It is now feasible to virtually walk down a street and see everything in context and at human scale, whether you are at home or at work. All of this may be accomplished before the first brick is set. The next generation of people who will live in these homes and use these new locations are digital natives, therefore we must engage with them in a way that they understand in order to move our town and city planning and development into the twenty-first century.
What do you mean, proper communication?
Gaming in the past (remember those arcades?) was mostly a’single-payer’ experience. However, because of the way technology has progressed, it is now an extremely collaborative pastime that promotes cooperation and cooperative problem-solving. Modern game technology increases communication and comprehension between disparate parties. And it is this that the property sector should embrace in order to properly convey complex development and construction plans to all stakeholders, including, most crucially, residents.
Consider the last time you were strolling down your street or through your town and thought to yourself, “What on earth is that gigantic crane working to build?”
Major projects undoubtedly influence us all; wouldn’t it be nice to have a say in where the new supermarket should be built, how a new office building should look, or whether the design of a new school encourages everyone to walk there?
And you have every right to do so: no big development, whether proposed by a government or a developer, is supposed to happen without the proper involvement of the local community. The issue is that much of this dialogue is lost behind a jargon-filled, document-based structure that fails to engage meaningfully with the spaces’ end users. Why create areas for a group of people who have never seen, understood, or been able to influence the proposals?
Is it possible for this technology to disclose the map for levelling up?
Smart technology is required to build the cities of the future that best support our daily well-being. Identifying the best investment opportunities is critical as we work to raise the country’s standard of living. Proptech can assist us in more effectively delivering new projects across the country. Real estate is one of the most valuable asset sectors in the world, and well-planned development may strengthen local economies and encourage more investment. Fintech has become increasingly significant in financial and asset management, as we all know. Proptech should, in the same way, come to dominate the development sector, and the moment to enable and propel it ahead is now. Perhaps it will be like repeating an early level of a video game when we look back at how we used to create cities – only then will we realise how much easier, better, and more efficient it is with the best equipment, tools, and inventories!