Article: While in some ways the core methods of the construction and financing of buildings has not changed much compared to other industries, the real estate industry must always adapt to changes in preferences, often driven by changes in technology.

For example, the mass adoption of the automobile, now almost a hundred years ago, changed views on the need for parking, how long of a commute was possible, leading to the creation of larger grocery stores, malls, suburban office parks, and many other innovations in the built environment.

That shift is also reversing itself now, as the potential for driverless cars, and even the increased use of ride-hailing and car-sharing are shifting consumer needs for dedicated parking in office and residential in downtown areas. The increased use of sensors will allow for smarter management of traffic, water, and waste, both at a building level but potentially at a city or even more macro level.

Air conditioning, elevators, steel construction for taller buildings, all of these new technologies impact the world around us and what is possible in terms of the highest, best use of any particular piece of land. Newer technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are already helping with changing the design process, with other technologies still on the horizon, including 3-D printing, blockchain, modular construction, just to name a few.

ULI has two product councils focused on technology and real estate in the Americas and another with members from ULI Europe. Find more content on the New and Disruptive Technology topic page on Knowledge Finder.  

Here are some recent Urban Land features exploring this topic:

The talk about futuristic transportation has been exciting, but reality may be more expensive—and farther off—than imagined.
Sidewalk Labs recently announced that it would withdraw from a proposed smart city project in Toronto. But Sidewalk is already in talks to repurpose those innovations, said participants in ULI’s Spring Meeting Webinar Series.
The Punggol Digital District, set to launch in 2023, will form a fresh nexus between higher education and industrial innovation, with its two anchor institutions being the Singapore Institute of Technology and a new business park developed by JTC Corporation, an industrial property developer and manager.
New research by McKinsey & Company, a ULI Global Corporate Partner, looks at how "big data" is transforming real estate.
Members of ULI’s Technology and Real Estate Council discuss the disruptive effects of technologies on the real estate industry, the challenges of using “big data” effectively, and the technological applications under development for real estate.
The real estate industry traditionally has valued gut instinct and experience. But the ability to collect, analyze, and visualize vast amounts of information could be the new competitive advantage.
A nervous system capable of collecting data and a brain that is able to make use of it are vital to a system that meets the needs of stakeholders—and society.
Speaking at the ULI Carolinas Meeting in February, consultant Paul Doherty of The Digit Group described how 3-D printing, building information modeling, and piezoelectricity are reshaping the built environment.
Weaving data, virtual and augmented reality, and analytical tools into all stages of the design and development process pays off with better buildings—and better returns.
The coming wave of ride-hailing companies and driverless cars will push down levels of vehicle ownership, reduce parking demand, and transform urban spaces.
The commercial real estate sector is poised to undergo a radical technological transformation in which it will be as quick and easy to buy or sell a home as it is to order a new iPhone, in which blockchain and digital tokens will allow commercial real estate assets to be split into tiny shares that can be easily traded, and in which construction companies will deploy autonomous bulldozers to grade sites and make up for a shortage of skilled labor. Those were just some of the transformative innovations described by venture capitalist Brad Greiwe in a session on technological change at the 2018 ULI Fall Meeting in Boston.
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