The Future of Urban Living
Times are changing. A new urban social lifestyle is needed.
The world population is growing and moving to urban areas at an exponential rate. Today 33% of the world population (2.5 billion people) lives in urban areas, and this number is going to drastically change by 2050 as 66% of the world population (6.5 billion people) will be living in urban areas. To support this growth, multi-family buildings are going to become even more critical.
At present, we’re already in the midst of a generational shift in urban lifestyles and modes of living. Primarily driven by COVID, places to live now also need to accommodate work and play. With the social isolation crisis, shift towards a remote-first workforce, and financial uncertainty, people are demanding much more from their living spaces in urban centres.
As we rethink the challenges and realities of urban living, a social marketplace model can be the next evolution of resident experience and empowerment. It’s a fine blend of human-centric use of technology, economic opportunity, and social capital creation. All within a safe and fun hyper-local experience.
At Hangeh we’re building this future. It’s time to unlock the power of proximity and enable every resident to live their best life through meaningful social and economic interactions - right where they live.
One of the biggest costs of urbanization has been the erosion of social capital. General trust has reduced by 60%, spontaneous interactions are down by 40%, dinners with friend and family have declined by 35%. A major reason for this is that residential buildings in the past few decades have not been designed for social interactions, instead their built form has been focused on leasable space utilization and fast return on capital for developers.
On the flip side, urbanization has drastically increased and consolidated human capital in concentrated urban pockets. Think of all the rich experiences and valuable skills each of us have, and so do all our neighbours - how can these be mobilized to benefit others as well as empower ourselves.
But, most of this value remains untapped as skills and knowledge have been limited to professional engagements and designated areas of work. But there are hardly any reasons for this to be so.
In terms of social cohesion, a typical 250-unit residential building in North America has less than 2% of its residents engaging in any meaningful social interactions. That’s where someone would have a conversation beyond just eye contact or the awkward elevator small talk. With regards to economic footprint, residents of the same 250 unit building represent over $12M in spending power and $5M worth of household items. Most of this remains vastly under-utilized. And, that’s just the case of one building, where there are over 384 million multifamily housing units in North America and Europe alone.
With Hangeh we are creating a hyper-local experience for urban residents, where they can:
- Discover and engage with like-minded neighbours - a new network.
- Participate in sharing personal and professional services - the new exchange.
- Utilize their own spaces to hangout and socialize – the new amenity.
In terms of social infrastructure of big cities, we truly stand at a crossroads of history - we’ve never lived closer to each other in proximity, yet never felt so disconnected with our own communities. It may be time for a generational change, and it has to start with each of us.
Altogether, we are creating the new social marketplace - a safe, fun and interactive experience for all; which is going to fundamentally change the way people live in and experience life in urban centres.
Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) "Urbanization”.
Putnma, R. (2000). Bowling alone. Simon & Schuster.