Now is the Time

Now is the Time

To recap, we offer this workflows, our libraries and our community as a space for redefining the role of property in our economy and our society. We have used my personal, professional and technical experiences to inform, prepare and present my ideas.

We argue that local, browser based business is the route to regional revival. Our surroundings can ignite, support and sustain this transformation.

That work starts today. Now we must ask, who makes the change?

The task does not belong to a single real estate superhero. This will form part of a joint endeavour. And we should be honest; there are great rewards available for those who get this right.

Let us begin with the words you are kindly digesting. We do not pretend to have all the answers. We do not claim that There Is No Alternative. This playbook is only a starting gun for something bigger. We must play to the strengths of the online world to elevate, scrutinise and refine our arguments for the offline world. We must use our digital community to share, challenge, teach and learn.

We must demonstrate the financial viability of locally focussed, experience-first real estate. We will explore the appropriate business models, operating structures and commercial strategies. We will find funding partners that support our motivations, our vision and our values. We will identify potential lenders, investors, government schemes and crowdfunding opportunities.

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For that we need feasibility assessments, business cases, market analysis, pricing data and cashflow projections.

There are our contracting and consulting partners. These are the specialists who will appraise existing assets and brownfield sites. These are the architects and interior designers who will create plans and walkthroughs. These are the builders, joiners, plumbers and carpenters who will bring our ideals to life. Our real estate will be holistic. It will embody how something looks, works and feels. It will be a combination of aesthetic, layout, technology and culture.

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For that we need specifications, contracts and safety protocols.

To enable a seamless, personalised and on-demand experience, we will integrate two distinct worlds; software and property. We must find common ground between the collaborative and the adversarial. It is perhaps our greatest challenge. First, we must become familiar with the culture, language and methodology of digital product design. Jobs To Be Done. Proof of Concept. Iterate, Iterate, Iterate. Build, Measure, Learn. Second, we must build legitimacy and rapport with the developer and engineering community. We will convey an intimate knowledge of the paint points, failures and frictions of the current real estate experience. Third, we must demonstrate the inherent logic and value of our proposals.

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For that we need concepts, working prototypes, wireframes, workflows and commercial partners.

Binding this all together is our project and construction philosophy. It is a combination of informed decision making and sharp execution. Projects respect the traditional demands of time, cost and quality. To this we now add adaptability, sustainability and welfare. It is a careful balancing act, influenced always by circumstance and motivation. Consider the heavy consequence of poor judgement; the cladding decisions taken at Grenfell Tower trimmed comparatively little from the overall project budget. The final cost turned out to be seventy two innocent lives.

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For that we need rock solid principles, supported by roadmaps, frameworks and toolkits.

Consequences

This leads to the defining question; who benefits? What is the wider context of our development decisions? We must respect the characteristics, aspirations and expectations of a community. Do they actually desire fleeting tourism? Do they really seek salvation in retail warehouses or back offices? Where is the consideration for social and commercial sustainability?

We can lead with our real estate. We can support new generations with our maker spaces, social spaces, co-living spaces, lifelong learning spaces and start-up spaces. We must be proactive, bold, and decisive. For that we need action.

Consider not just the activity undertaken by the users of our buildings. Consider the new roles necessary to manage and promote their value. As per Paul Grahamโ€™s sage advice, Do Things that Donโ€™t Scale. In the age of automation, the skills we need are intuitive and profoundly human. We need a diverse range of characters and personalities. In this coming era, work is theatre. We need empathy. Humour. Criticism. Creativity. Adaptability. Inspiration. Sensitivity. Persuasion. Discipline. Motivation. Demonstration. Personability. Reassurance. Encouragement. The very qualities created by strong, cohesive and secure communities.

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The concepts, questions and challenges we present here form the core of the Propflo. It shall be curated for and made available to all those who subscribe to our values and our vision.

Let us conclude with these final thoughts. Space is all powerful. It has an impact far from its footprint. It leaves a long legacy. It is at once physical and digital. It influences our life choices. It sparks our revelations. It is the story of our society. It is the fuel to our fire.

We are hypnotised by our surroundings.

We will drive change with real estate.