Take a random walk around the city on a weekday, and you will notice numerous partially used spaces. From half-empty studios to empty office blocks that cater to a minimal number of individuals, many such spaces start racking up in parts of your brain when you start thinking about these spaces. It is fundamental to observe that it is not just space left unused, but the opportunity to utilize the space more productively is getting wasted.
Space utilization is primarily concerned with measuring the scalability of how allowed and available space is used productively. Buildings occupy only a part of the land in the cities. The significance of public spaces in cities is declining.
Public spaces have always been ignored, but nowadays, we are witnessing bold innovation and experimentation in the domain of public spaces in cities. A new generation or Gen-X and Gen-Z of the city have now begun to explore and understand that unconventional places are way better and more refreshing to hang out than the regular hangout spots or "ADDAS." Hanging out under infrastructure, above infrastructure, along sea lines, there's like a pull toward these spaces outside our collective perception of public space.
A lot of cities are re-using and re-imagining previously underused spaces to uplift communities and transform lives. The society as a whole is becoming more welcoming towards such innovative and creative projects. Public spaces can be great places at the intersection between sustainability, knowledge, and community action very well established by people at large.
We are heading towards a logical progression. The growing trend is a result of early disruptors like Airbnb and Uber. Trendsetters are required to lead the way. The commercial property industry is not known for its skittish innovation. Still, now the realization of the various opportunities is kicking in. Airbnb allowed the owners of multiple commercial and residential spaces to make money from their otherwise empty, unutilized, and underutilized spaces. It enabled living spaces in private homes to be used as fitness studios, office space for therapists or masseuses, a venue for workshops, or only a quiet place to get some work done. In India, Awfis offers up vacant office space in its big cities to start-ups and larger companies in need of affordable 'plug n play' offices or meeting rooms with the necessary infrastructure and has witnessed a growing market for retailers.
Buildings are often overlooked as a potential public space despite their prevalence and need in urban life. As a result, investments in buildings often lag, leaving significant potential untapped for improving productivity, health, and comfort. It's time for leaders from both the public and private sectors to pay attention to buildings to improve community spaces and multidimensional spaces in cities.
The traditional way of running a business in a predetermined space is undergoing a tremendous change, and reforms in this sector are all set to boom. The various services and opportunities that are offered by community and public spaces are almost trending. Accelerating these emerging trends and incentivizing change at a higher level will benefit building owners and users and society as a whole.
About the Author...
Samhita Chandrasekaran is a CA Final student of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. She is also pursuing her III Year of B.Com (HONOURS) in Chennai. She is highly articulate and analytical. She is a precisionist with excellent interpersonal skills and works well in a team. She is an ardent follower of the stock markets too!