23116_FOC Centralized Content_Community_Report_v357


Communities are no longer inherently bound by where we live, but are instead formed through shared interests, ambitions and ethical values, and are formed both offline and online. We are now a more transient society with more choice and less loyalty, which is challenging our city communities. Technology and virtualisation have disrupted the dominance physical communities once had. However, the impact of such disruption varies significantly by generation. The youth (those born in the early 2020s) have moved on from the social media that their parents grew up with, to engage regularly in fully virtual communities.

Looking back, 2020 was a catalyst for change. When people were told to stay at home, we experienced a resurgence of local communities, through a shared desire to protect one another, support local businesses and explore our surroundings, (something many felt was not possible before due to being time poor!). At the same time, virtualisation made it possible to shift work-based communities from physical environments to digital workspaces. This had the impact of deepening local affiliations and rebuilding residential communities, but also facilitating the emergence of online communities developed around shared interests such as health & wellbeing, gaming, cooking and learning. Fast forward to today and we belong to physical and digital communities simultaneously.


1 Cushman & Wakefield | Future of Cities |

So, how has this impacted our cities?

Where are we starting to see this?


Cities continue to attract younger generations for whom virtual communities are more dominant. Therefore, cities have a crucial role to play in providing unique spaces that bring communities (both offline and online) together in the physical world. For larger cities, the city core is now a far more concentrated space bursting with commercial activity and interactions of all kinds. It lends itself to the create of temporary or interest-led communities, whereas communities in our suburbs and urban villages are more concerned with local issues and sustained , and repeated interactions. In the same way that the optimum retail model was found to be omnichannel, our most successful cities do not see community as an offline vs. online dichotomy, but instead are benefitting from the opportunities associated with integrating digital communities and physical places. Takeaways » Communities are no longer dominated by where we live. » The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for change through a resurgence of local affiliation and the need for online communities. » We belong to physical and digital communities simultaneously. » Cities should provide unique spaces that attract communities to bond over shared experiences. » Successful cities are benefitting from the integration of digital communities and physical places.

Neighborland is a US based public engagement platform designed to enable people to shape the future of the neighbourhoods they live within. The tech-based platform enables collaboration between local communities, real estate developers, government bodies and city agencies. Neighborland provides the software required to deliver city development projects more efficiently through enhanced community engagement. Neighborland developed a public engagement website to support the San Francisco Planning Department in the coordination of multiple redevelopment projects in San Francisco’s Central Waterfront and Dogpatch neighbourhoods, an area that has faced significant redevelopment following rezoning laws in 2008.


2 Cushman & Wakefield | Future of Cities |

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