By John Badman, Principal, CRTKL
What is the new brief for the home and the Home of Things (HoT)?
The world of the living has changed. A new era is being driven by hybrid lifestyles and hybrid working cities. As a result, the brief for the home is also changing and being informed by how people can work and be productive within their living environments, as well as the technological infrastructure needed to support this.
Residents are working, exercising, shopping, learning and meeting in entirely new ways. Where they physically spend time is now dictated by purpose rather than by demand. They want homes to work in, offices to shop in, hotels to live in, restaurants to cook in, nightclubs to exercise in – spaces and places that are fluid, flexible and authentic.
This is contributing to the growing demand for large, lifestyle-led residential investment assets including multifamily and Build to Rent (BTR). Seen as local hubs, these multifamily and Build to Rent models are based on a blended offer that creates a sense of belonging for both their residents and wider community. This becomes especially important when people are spending more time at home and more time within their neighbourhood bubbles.
People are outgrowing material desires. We don’t want ‘things’ so much as we want meaningful connections and greater freedoms. We want to do and be better. This newfound ethical and health conscience is changing the brief for the home and opening up a market for climate positive, socially inclusive Build to Rent and multifamily communities.
Where before these properties were kept to city fringe locations, now they are being introduced into previously unimagined locations, such as above high streets and shopping centres, adjacent to transit hubs, and mixed in with commercial, hospitality, and healthcare offers.
‘The Home of Things’
The blurring of these lines is necessitating a different set of residential amenities, like live/work spaces, and the Home of Things (HoT).
The HoT refers to the physical objects within the home that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks.
Beyond providing different spaces and settings for several types of work whether it be focused, collaborative, virtual or otherwise, residential amenities now need to supplement those of the office. From printing facilities to stationary cupboards, phone booths, private meeting rooms, IT support desks and semi-public co-working spaces. Connected and controlled through a resident’s mobile device, these would all be integrated into a branded app that could also work with the HoT to track, measure and improve personal energy usage and wellbeing.
Biometric data gathered here could then be shared with in-house practitioners or resident nutritionists, counsellors, and other health professionals that could rotate through a new type of hyper-local medical office or telemedicine pods that are built into the offer. Buildings can and should be playing an active role in the health and wellness of those that inhabit them. By providing access to community-based telehealth, multifamily and Build to Rent developments can have a positive, tangible, and lasting impact on resident and community health.
Advanced residential developments will also consider their part to play in last mile delivery and micro-mobility. Managing delivery surges, keeping perishables and takeaways to temperature, and providing access to a new breed of driverless vehicles, automated bots, and air taxis are all part of the future of multifamily and Build to Rent conversation. Drone ports and helipads may soon be coming to a residential rooftop nearby.