OPINION: IN a survey conducted by Richard Florida in his book “The Creative Class” he found eight factors of place:
Thick labour markets: a large body of people involved in all sorts of creative work where people meet serendipitously and create connections.
Lifestyle: Think about what you enjoy doing in your leisure time. How much access do you have to these things, how expensive, how much time, what provision is there in proximity?
Social interaction: No point having lots of interesting people around if there is no way to meet them. Not only having communities with amenity for people to meet, but organisations that create networking events. What we then need is permission that allow the orderly gathering of people.
A mate: Finding a mate is more difficult than you think. Take China for example, where there are an estimated 54 million more men than women.
Scenes: What’s your scene – classic music, opera, rock n roll, jazz, movies, food, wine, comedy, sport, arts, and culture?
Identity: We all have one – several in fact – whether we like it or not. When we go overseas we are Australians, when travelling in Australia we are from our city and when we are in our city we are from our suburb.
Diversity: Wrapped up in diversity is tolerance. It is about people feeling accepted for whoever they are with as little judgement as possible. Diversity and the permission to be who you want to be is extremely attractive to creative people.
Authenticity: Disney is not authentic in Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Paris. Likewise, I can see the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids and sail on a gondola in Las Vegas, but it is not authentic. Authenticity is about creating, curating, and maintaining something that is unique and so fundamentally unique as to be authentically of the population.
When thinking of these in the context of commercial property we should contemplate how the location provides this. When looking at a shopping mall for example, how many of these eight factors can be identified – quite possibly none of them. How many of these eight can be found in an office tower? Possibly one or two. In the future we should probably consider more widely how the space is used throughout a 24-hour day – as work, rest and play become completely flexible and intertwined, we should think of our built environment differently.
RETAIL/OFFICE: No longer single purpose buildings but must integrate more completely with the lifestyle of its users.
By Tony Crabb, national director, research, Cushman & Wakefield*
Property Reviewer on Australian Property Journal