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Opportunities in pace of change 21/03/2016

The UDIA National Congress held last week in Adelaide was an opportunity for industry professionals to hear from leading thinkers about the future of development in Australia. Interestingly, a theme running through much of discussion was the emergence of new technologies, with varying takes on the anticipated impact.

The UDIA National Congress held last week in Adelaide was an opportunity for industry professionals to hear from leading thinkers about the future of development in Australia.
Interestingly, a theme running through much of discussion was the emergence of new technologies, with varying takes on the anticipated impact.


While I’ve spoken previously on innovation and some of the big-ticket technologies such as autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing and battery storage, it is thought provoking to look at how advancements of recent decades have shaped the attitudes and behaviours of millennials.
Many of the millennial cohort (those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) will not recall a time before the internet, they have had greater access to education than previous generations and have formed a world view based on unprecedented access to instantaneous, global information.


The challenge for developers is therefore how do we deliver housing, communities and cities that meet the needs and desires of this generation while keeping pace with rapid social and cultural change?
A point raised by Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was the importance of social change to the growth and sustainability of our cities.


While transport technologies are expected to increase our travel options, cultural evolutions, including an increased focus on health and fitness as well as sustainability and social responsibility, have seen more people choosing to walk, cycle or use public transport.
In looking at the rise of the sharing economy via platforms such as Uber or Airbnb, a fundamental underpinning has been the generational shift away from the need to “own” things such as cars and the appeal of generating extra income by sharing the underused assets people hold, for example, a spare room for temporary accommodation.


In the Perth context, the growing number of apartment and small-lot developments represents the changing priorities of purchasers.


Many apartment dwellers value connectedness and ease of access to the services at their doorstep, while a large backyard may be seen as an inconvenient maintenance item.


Alternative building materials, sustainable construction methods, and renewable energy have for many moved beyond just “added features” to forming an essential part of living in a socially conscious “global village”.


While the pace of change may seem daunting, it is also exciting as we look for opportunities to build adaptable, liveable cities of the future.

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