What will ‘Smart’ Multifamily Look Like in 2050?

Over the weekend I attended the wedding of a high school friend—her second marriage and his first. While she has had other attractive proposals during the 10+ years since her divorce, this suitor was different. He shared her life-long dream of leaving the suburbs for an authentically rustic lifestyle in Vermont.

We all know people who despise the hustle and bustle of city living. Hopefully there will always be a choice that suits them. Demographers predict that by 2050 as much as 70 percent of the earth’s population will be living in cities. Click here for a fanciful look at what some of tomorrow’s “mega cities” might look like.

IBM is just one organization that is looking to shape this trend as it unfolds.

To glimpse what a true smart city might look like, IBM suggests looking at Masdar City, which is being erected near Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Click here for MHN’s most recent coverage of the project. Planners there are working with top scientists, engineers and innovators to create interconnected systems and manage them through an integrated city dashboard.

IBM is aggressively spreading its message and capabilities to consumers. A new report from the IBM Institute for Business Value, “A Vision of Smarter Cities,” argues that cities must use new technologies to “transform their systems to optimize the use of finite resources. As sustainability for cities and the planet becomes ever more important, the question isn’t whether cities will do this; the question is: Which ones are doing it first? And who will do it best?”

There’s not much detail about the role of housing in IBM’s messaging, but multifamily will play a pivotal role in the success of the cities of 2050.

What steps will apartment owners need to take to retrofit existing properties and what “smart” systems will need to be offered in new construction from an operational as well as amenities perspective?

(Diana Mosher is Editor-in-Chief of Multi-Housing News. She can be reached at Diana.Mosher@Nielsen.com)