In a rapidly changing world, real estate moves slowly; adaptation for the coming decades is happening now.

Here’s how leaders can be ready for what’s next:

Get comfortable with complexity.

Today’s societies are suffering from a mismatch between twentieth-century real estate products and the ways human life is organized in an increasingly complex world. To adapt successfully, we need to expand our focus beyond physical assets to the wider connections that sustain them. These connections are our most powerful means of managing complexity.

Create spaces in step with new realities.

Social change takes place on multiple scales simultaneously. To adapt to new social and spatial realities, real estate needs to create new spatial formats, develop a hybrid concept of location, and learn from the dynamic interaction of built, digital, and natural systems with human activities and experiences.

Focus on well-being and place.

Interactions with the physical environment have a profound and complex impact on our lives. The places that we experience as sociable, connected, biophilic, and intuitive are those that best support our well-being and elevate our capacities. The goal of twenty-first century real estate is to provide settings for these positive human experiences.

Develop small-world real estate.

We say it’s a small world when things are more connected than we realized. Look deeper, and small worlds have a structure. Combining local and long-distance interconnections, they link sociable neighborhoods with international and global communities. The future of real estate is in development that’s aligned with these small-world networks, adapting our spaces for the changing locations, distribution, and mix of human activities.

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