The Human Relationship with Space (Real Estate) in a COVID-19 World

Space (real estate) is unquestionably linked to being human. Space serves as the backbone of our society and economic system. Space is often used as an expression of our basic human desires, wants and needs.

The goal of this article is to explore the relationship between humans and space and have a conversation about how we will interact with space as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Space is to used to live in (housing), work in (office), to make things in (manufacturing), to store things in (warehouse), to shop in (retail), to learn in (schools, colleges, universities), to heal in (hospitals), to age in (care homes), to vacation in (hotels), to socialize in (bars, clubs), to eat in (restaurants), and to worship in (churches, temples, synagogues, mosques).

The real estate business is about space – four walls, a floor, and a ceiling. While the pillars of the real estate business are investing in space, leasing space, managing space, selling space, and building space – none of those activities are meaningful without humans interacting with them.

A paradigm shift has happened. How we interact and use space has changed dramatically in just a few short months – malls are closed, schools are empty, restaurants are shuttered, and homes are now playing double duty as places to live, work, learn, and shop.

How we interact with and use space in the future will change as a result of the pandemic. Businesses are working from home, schools are going online, retailers are doubling down on e-commerce, and restaurants are turning to delivery services. Trends such as work from home, cloud kitchens, and online learning are becoming the new normal.

To what extent our demand and use for space will change in a post pandemic world, I don’t know. What I do know is that 1) people always need places to live and the demand for quality housing is stronger than ever 2) humans are social by nature and crave face to face interaction so the demand for space to work, shop, and socialize won’t go away, but the design and layout of those environments may change.

How has your use of space changed as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic? Comment below.

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