Organo Editorial

Reimagining Housing for the New Normal

By Meena Murugappan

What are the three most essential things in real estate? Location, location, location! - a mantra often repeated in the real estate industry. However, Covid-19 has brought focus on the need for us to relook at the mantra. As the pandemic unfolds, designers, end-users, developers, landlords, and investors are rethinking the future of the real estate. This rethink is timely and is especially critical in a sector like residential real estate in India.  

 

Urban vs Rurban - Reverse Migration of the Indian Urbanite 

Due to rapid urbanisation, city environments have been chocking under population density, significant pressure on public infrastructure, the rising cost of living and dropping quality of life. With the internet and mobile connectivity, the economic advantages of urban agglomeration are dipping.  

In other words, the locational advantage of urban centres is slowly losing its significance. Rurban and Peri-urban areas are gaining more attention as good alternates for housing developments amongst real estate developers as well as end-users.  

With the flexibility of work-from-home and virtual schooling, we can expect younger families to move away from city centres and closers to nature.  

 

Neighbourhood Planning and End-User Well-Being 

Covid-19 has highlighted the need for locating the right mix of real estate products in the right neighbourhood. An integrated community with good social infrastructure, vehicular connectivity, access to safe food sources, fresh air & water, energy self-reliance and a correct balance of commercial activity and neighbourhood amenities are the need of the hour.  

Multiple studies show the positive impact of holistic neighbourhoods in the physical, emotions and mental well being of children, adults and seniors. Communities with good well-being indicators will become more sought after and ought to focus on: 

  • Maximising the opportunity for physical activities, sports and leisure
  • Providing access to open green spaces and natural groves 
  • Having the opportunity to grow local food collectively and individually 

 

User-Centric Homes & Communities 

Relying on traditional economic data, projecting market trends and offering marginally improved housing projects to end-users are no longer the way of the future. More and more, real estate leaders are collaborating with end-users, designers, engineers, agriculturists, sociologists, technologists, and various other experts across fields to curate and create the ideal living environments for people, without impacting the planet and while optimising business profits.  

User-focused housing projects tend to have robust social engagement, active civil & social contribution and long-term residents. To weave in resilience against economic shocks, real estate leaders need to create unique, sustainable, end-user-focused housing solutions.  

 In summary, Housing Developments will see the following shifts: 

  1. Development companies will transition away from market-oriented products and towards user-centric communities 
  1. Neighbourhoods will need more than social infrastructure, vehicular connectivity, and commercial activity. They will also need provision for growing food, raising livestock and have large green lungs 
  1. End-user will have requirements for more than four walls and a few sq.ft of floor space. They need healthy long-term communities that focus on well-being, social bonding, positive environmental impact, and the possibility of self-reliance.  


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