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Building Better Communities

June 29, 2018 — TERRANOVA TRENDS — BY SALLY BOYNTON BROWN Real estate developers have long prided ourselves on meeting the demand of consumers in the marketplace. However, the ongoing acceleration of technology and capacity to deliver consumers a faster, more convenient product directly to their doorsteps is driving our industry to evolve. More store closings are announced every day and we know that investment capital is favoring industrial and data space over retail. Our traditional, reactive model of simply supplying what the market demands, would take us to a future where everything is supplied at the click of a button and no one leaves their homes.

Social science tells us humans are social creatives and therefore it would be unhealthy for us to never leave our homes, yet a number of studies in recent years have found that loneliness is becoming one of our biggest public health threats. The need to build community in an era when people are increasingly socially disconnected by a culture of immediate online need fulfillment is more critical now than ever before. Media headlines are filled with unbelievable tragedies and attendance at religious services, block parties, school carnivals and other community events is at an all time low.

“As developers, we have to make it worth it for people to get off their couches, leave their residences to go experience something in the physical world. We need to create authentic experiences for personal interaction,” said the Chairman of Terranova Stephen Bittel. “Millennials have more spending power than other generation and those millennials are willing to leave their homes for one thing, a unique experience they can tell their friends about on social media. They are our future and we must ensure they have rich, resilient opportunities to build the community connections that they will need to meet the challenges of their time.”