While reading the NY Times at the gym this morning, a habit I have to avoid engaging in small talk with strangers in between reps, I was struck by the article SimCity, for Real: Measuring an Untidy Metropolis, which gives a glimpse into the future of buildings, urban planning and enforcement.
The article talks about the future of cities employing science to generate efficiency in terms of water use and energy by analyzing sources of waste through computerized sensors. It discusses a needed future in terms of creating an optimal urban environment with more effective policies for the enforcement of noise ordinances coupled with just plain old common sense of better scheduling of garbage pickup times.
The article focuses on New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress and its use of sensors, research and statistics to optimize New York City as its living laboratory. In all, its a great article by Steve Lohr and a must read for anyone who works in real estate.
Yet, what real estate professionals must really focus on is not just the future, but the current state of things. Thankfully, the article also discusses how these technologies are employed today. It explains that in 2010 under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City set up a team of data scientists for special projects and focused on zoning issues by mining data to predict where to send the City's building inspectors resulting in more than 20,000 complaints. So, landlords and property owners be ware; now you not only have to worry about your neighbors / tenants complaints to the City, but the City is also taking a proactive approach to enforcement. And, yes, the City is correct. Zoning rules are in place to create a safe environment for building occupants. Its time to get to know your Code, understand your tenants rights or SimCity (NYC) will find you and ticket you.