The report examines the relationship between buildings and their surrounding environments, focusing on how global trends will change the way buildings are developed and managed in the future.

The core global trends to emerge are:

Innovation and Technology - Up to 60% of jobs, 10 years from now, have yet to be invented. It means buildings require inbuilt connectivity and flexibility or face becoming obsolete.
Automation and artificial intelligence is shifting the way we think about work and carry out our duties. According to futurists, some of the high risk jobs include accounts clerks, librarians, watch repairers and bank tellers.

Increasingly, employees expect to work in more informal environments which are flexible and ‘human’. Employers are encouraged to provide workspaces that fit staff lifestyle choices. To successfully meet these future challenges, buildings must become highly flexible spaces, capable of sustaining anything from five to 10 different adaptations over the typical 25-year life cycle of investment.

Connectivity and Accessibility – The average age of a newly qualified driver is now 28 years old across Europe. As a result workplaces increasingly need to be in close proximity to quality public transport services.

The built environment continues to change. Historically the focus was private and individual mobility. The result was suburbia, out-of-town retail and office parks, with investment largely channelled to road infrastructure funding.

Today, investment exploits urban dense areas paying close attention to public transport interchange. The concept is that individual mobility is superseded by connectivity – via investment in public transport infrastructure – and accessibility.

Looking ahead, locations with the best connectivity and accessibility will accrue the most employees, making these locations highly desirable for businesses. In contrast, those locations with poor connectivity will have lower employment densities.

Urban Consolidation – In 2050, the global population is predicted to be 9.6 billion, according to the United Nations. The migration from rural to metropolitan living is creating an extraordinary number of mega cities across the world. It means the physical location of an asset needs to be connected to the masses.

Urbanisation will continue to have a significant impact on personal and professional space. Cities ultimately drive commerce due to the agglomeration of people, skills and innovation. For buildings, this equates to efficient space optimisation via open plan layouts and hot desking.  It’s also creating increased numbers of mixed-use buildings which are efficient as they have mass appeal.

“‘Location, location, location’ has been the real estate mantra for many years. The future norm is in fact ‘connectivity, connectivity, connectivity’. To survive, and thrive, buildings and workplaces must adapt to cater for the changing global demographics. Simply, the future is coming so our success or failure is determined by how well we engage with it”, Peter Dijkhuis - Director of Building Consultancy and Master Planning at CBRE, commented.