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.

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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 one each in both the EMEA and APAC regions. Find more content on the New and Disruptive Technology topic page on Knowledge Finder.  

Here are some recent Urban Land features exploring this topic:

Real-time virtual models of objects, ranging from a building to an entire city, are an emerging concept that has the potential to transform the built environment and the real estate industry in numerous ways, according to the technology’s proponents.
JLL’s 2021 Global Proptech Report identifies nearly 8,000 property technology companies around the world with a threefold increase over the past 10 years. But JLL is also betting on further growth in the space with with $100 venture capital fund of its own.
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The pandemic has accelerated the use of contactless drones for comprehensive applications in real estate development.
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.
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 talk about futuristic transportation has been exciting, but reality may be more expensive—and farther off—than imagined.
New research by McKinsey & Company, a ULI Global Corporate Partner, looks at how "big data" is transforming 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.
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