Urban flight has done a 180. We're moving back into the city en masse. This is where it's happening: innovative community initiatives, hip bars and eateries, public services, etc. And they're all within walking or cycling distance. The city also meets the younger generation's urge to deal with living in a more environmentally aware manner. Living and working in the same city means you don't have to brave the daily gridlock any longer. Doing some shopping—by bike, obviously—automatically becomes more environment-friendly. For many, urban living is the dream.
Downsizing's downsides clearly pale in comparison to the convenience of the city. Young families, too, no longer move away once they hear the patter of tiny feet. Cities have grown considerably in the past few years. And that's a good thing, agrees Flemish Government Architect Leo Van Broeck: "It's in all of our interests that cities will densify, but that should happen in such a way that it's pleasant for everyone to live in the city." Stéphane Verbeeck, project developer and CEO of Gands, seconds that, "the efforts several cities have put into making people feel happy while experiencing their city are palpable." And this experience doesn't stop in the city. It extends beyond the front door.
The expectations around urban living itself have also shifted: extra services such as having your laundry picked up at home are becoming the rule rather than the exception. Bringme ensures the mass integration of these building automation solutions and makes them affordable. A great example of this is YUST, an innovative Antwerp housing project which effortlessly combines sustainability, the sharing economy, and neighbourhood integration: a shining example of living 2.0. It's no wonder that here, too, the developers opted for a Bringme Box to facilitate services and to make residents' lives easier.
Housing has become more expensive—especially in cities—and that's why young people have to invest more carefully and more creatively. Sharing things is a logical consequence of that evolution. Sharing economy greats like AirBnB and Lyft have been successfully capitalizing on the increasing need for borrowing, exchanging, and cooperating for a while now.
"If you share the costs of certain facilities with several other residents, they become affordable all of the sudden. Think about swimming pools, communal spaces, fitness facilities, or a Bringme Box. All sorts of comfort become possible without your having to win the lottery," says Leo Van Broeck.
That's the principle the Bringme Box is grounded on: an order is delivered to an available compartment. As soon as the parcel is picked up, the compartment is free for everyone to use again. This property trend is all about efficiency and building automation.
It's no wonder then that co-housing, which takes its cue from the sharing economy, is on the up-and-up. Living together (not as a couple) is key here. It's one of the ways in which people cope with the skyrocketing prices in most large cities. Co-housing is about more than just saving on costs. The sense of community also dovetails perfectly with today's zeitgeist. In addition, co-housing projects take into account combining different stages of life: young couples, senior citizens, singles, or families; sharing services and means makes people converge. Minding the dog for a minute becomes a lot easier if you're living under the same roof.
Only for with-it millennials? Think again! Think about homes with a "grannex", for example: co-housing makes it easier for the elderly to live independently for longer. And because children (and grandchildren) have their (grand-)parents close by, there are many advantages for them as well, without suffering a loss of privacy. Assisted living is another perfect example of this. For senior citizens, it's important to be able to live pleasantly, comfortably, and—especially—on their own for as long as possible. Easy access to shared services allows for this. That means Bringme has become indispensable in assisted living residences, too.
In addition to co-housing, there's the exceedingly popular co-working. No bog-standard offices, but congenial spaces where professionals work, share knowledge, eat, and often even have fun together. Because it's more important now than ever to have fun at work.
Fosbury and Sons have definitely caught on to that. This co-working space in the heart of Antwerp opened its doors last December. A stately lobby and a décor you would have liked in your own living room. It's a pleasure to head over to Fosbury and Sons: to work towards your next deadline, for a lunch meeting, but also for a good conversation. Here too, the Bringme Box has a part to play: having something delivered or exchanging something with someone who will only be at the co-working space later in the day was never simpler.
Are you up to speed again? We sure hope so.