Tom Ward, Founder and Global Chief Executive Officer at Scape, discusses the long-term effect of the pandemic on the future of our cities and the way we live and work within them
At Scape we see a strong long-term future for our cities. The centre of economic growth and innovation, cities fuel our creative energies and foster opportunities. Alongside their vibrant cultural and social scenes, cities act as a hub, offering high quality and wide-ranging benefits from retail and leisure to health care, hospitality, and work opportunities.
It is our belief that life will return to cities once more as we look towards the aftermath of the Covid crisis. We are starting to see evidence of this return already within recent published reports. For example, in a study conducted by Rightmove, it was revealed that city centre rental enquiries have risen by as much as 126% year-on-year.
This last year has given us time to reflect on the challenges that many faced with living in a city before the pandemic. At Scape we have designed a new proposition called ‘Living’ that looks to eliminate many of the common distractions that those working in a busy city face day-to-day – the journeys, stresses, worries that sap time and energy.
All our properties are located in central urban areas, providing access to a wide range of services to support residents, all designed to mean they don’t have to compromise on the things that matter most.
Whilst we do believe that business will pick up again in the main city centres, we predict that people will continue to enjoy their local neighborhoods in the commutable areas of the city. In light of this, we want to ensure that our properties are located in culturally exciting and vibrant neighborhoods, making them a great base for modern city-dwellers.
Recent studies suggest that UK workers will want to split their time between working remotely and commuting to the office in the future. For example in BCG’s UK Employee Sentiment Survey – conducted in the summer that polled 2,000 UK employees – findings suggest that 67% of employees who have worked remotely since the start of COVID-19 believe that a hybrid model of remote and in-workplace work is ideal for them and their colleagues.
This will mean that cities will have to adapt to this new style of urban living as it continue to prove popular among employees. At Scape, we’ve designed our new Living by Scape proposition to tap into this new way of urban living with high spec living studios that combine comfortable and functional working areas with facilities such as co-working zones, and fitness studios all under one roof.
“The global pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we’ve had to live, but with so many of us feeling a sense of loneliness and isolation, the need for community, and togetherness has come to the forefront”
Whilst there is no denying that the rapid rise in flexible and home working will see a shift in urban living, the fundamentals of what we look for and need from our cities in the future will remain largely the same. This last year has reinforced the importance of social interactions and collaboration. We’ve come to see that leading an inspiring life, one where you learn and grow, as well as get ahead, is best done in person than through a screen. Our cities provide these opportunities and possibilities, particularly for the young.
What is more, the coronavirus effect on our cities and the economy has been devastating. Whilst there are businesses and sectors that have been able to adapt and switch to a working from home environment, for others it has meant closures and the lack of ability to operate at all. For our cities to thrive once more, the importance on ensuring our urban locations continue to provide leisure, retail and hospitality experiences is vital for our economy, but also for our wellbeing as well.
The global pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we’ve had to live, but with so many of us feeling a sense of loneliness and isolation, the need for community, and togetherness has come to the forefront. Scape has worked hard over the years to build a strong and vibrant sense of community. This is something that we have always, and will continue to, passionately believe in.
Research has shown that people have a strong affinity with the workplace, and once safe to do, would like to return, albeit with increased flexibility. For example, in BCG’s UK Employee Sentiment Survey findings show that nearly half (46%) of UK employees working remotely feel that collaborative tasks are more productive in the workplace, but over 50% find that home, where there may be fewer distractions, is a better place for thinking and planning.
Changes to come
With this being the case, we are likely to see new approaches to apartment design and the rise in living schemes within the city that accommodate for comfortable and productive workspaces within personal spaces, but also by offering vibrant co-working zones. We are also likely to see a rise in professionals looking to live in closer reach to the city, as to be within easy access from the office.
With Scape’s new Living proposition, we want to reimagine homes in lively city neighbourhoods for those who make the city tick. Each Scape property has been expertly shaped around the people who’ll call it home, giving them everything they need in the smartest way possible.
With professionals now more likely to work flexibly, meaning more time spent at home; there is a new need for multi occupancy living to provide a better, more comfortable way to work. They will also need to cater to those spending much more time at home. This means that the need for well-designed residences that offer many inclusive features will be sure to be on the rise when it comes to urban living in the foreseeable.
Living by Scape will provide its residents with thoughtfully crafted; design led apartments in the heart of the city. The Living concept will include important essentials such as weekly cleans, superfast Wifi and 24/7 security. We predict that these essentials will be expected from those living in cities over the coming years, particularly as we welcome flexible working into our weekly professional lives.
Image: I Wei Huang – Shutterstock
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