The higher we can push the utilisation rate of office spaces, the less will the costs and the carbon footprint of their construction become. Sharing enables higher sustainability and responsibility – we want more of this!

First in Stockholm and London, now in Helsinki – the international Business Arena which delves into the topical matters of the real estate industry will be held at the Messukeskus event venue on 4 February 2020. I am honoured to participate in the panel discussion to be held in the afternoon on property management and sustainable development. We will also be presenting all our current development projects like We Land, OOPS, Fredriksberg, Next and Mondo Village at our stand during the seminar.

The topic goes right to the point; these are just the matters I find close to my heart. It all started when I studied real estate economics and applied for the Design Business Management master’s degree programme and ended up solving global problems with economists, artists and students of technology.

At the time we did a lot of shuttling between three different campuses, namely Arabia, Töölö and Otaniemi, all of which were being run at a more or less low occupancy rate despite the fact that each of them had a character of its own. I got so deep into questions of university campus management in the changing operating environment that it even became the topic of my PhD. This is how my path finally led to NCC Property Development where I became a full-time developer hippie.

Flexible resources offer new opportunities

In brief, my real estate philosophy is based on the notion that an unused space is a cost. Traditional office properties currently have a rather poor utilisation rate, especially outside normal business hours. This means a huge waste of resources which in its turn goes against the principles of sustainable development.

The objective of our Urban Sense service concept is to create an urban user experience and to build a network to pilot on digital solutions applicable to office spaces. The purpose of all this is to provide the building’s users with support in running their daily routines and to open the HQ areas also to the use of the neighbouring properties and residents.

We will be taking the idea even further with our partner Tractr Oy. Our first pilot will be launched at the Fredriksberg site in Vallila still in the first quarter of the current year. The pilot involves testing and gathering experiences on flexible space-sharing solutions via a user interface to work fluently across tenant boundaries.

Get the space when you need it

Property developers have done a great job reducing the negative environmental impacts over the recent years. However, a lot remains to be done in order to minimise the adverse effects on the environment. The property development industry is and will be in need of more and more flexible innovations in the creation of which we want to participate – preferably among the first.

Our partnership with Tractr will afford the real estate industry and the business world with a service solution that could be best described as the Airbnb of office space market. We are working on a user interface which would be as easy to use as possible and allow companies to let their office spaces or search for office spaces for themselves as the need and a situation arises, either based on an hourly, daily or a monthly rental arrangement as per the principle ”Workspace when you need it”.

The service vision is to work across operator and property boundaries sharing space resources in a new way, considering all functions of the building from lobby service to maintenance, including the spaces. It will be interesting to see how the companies will receive the idea of sharing their space resources.

We are only getting started, but the expectations are high

The boldest forecasts indicate that the built environment will double on the global scale owing to the urbanisation process to take place during the period 2020-2060. It has been estimated that buildings will account for 30-40 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions due to their energy consumption and construction.

While the vacancy rate of the spaces remains high, this equation does not make any sense from the viewpoint of our battle against climate change. It would make much more sense to increase the number of users from the current level while cutting down on the number of buildings.

Launched successfully, the technology platform, networking model and business logic based on the space-sharing concept will optimally lower the vacancy rate, cut the carbon dioxide emissions and reduce the carbon footprint and costs related to the spaces. The philosophy of flexible resources also has potential to encourage the space design of the future to put an increasing focus on demands-based and safe sharing solutions.

If the current trends of global development lead where they are pointing at, the role of community management will grow all more important in the future. In the world of space-sharing networks, it will be the community managers and easy-use booking tools that will bring the companies together.

We have acquainted ourselves with the businesses operating in the field and been working on our new operating mode a whole year now. At Fredriksberg we get to test, try out and learn with a company called Wonderland. We are only getting started, but the expectations are set high. We are eagerly looking forward to seeing how the flexible space solutions and sharing will be received in the spirit of sustainable development.

Take a closer look at our urban office building project:

Eelis Rytkönen

Urban Developer Hippie, NCC

NCC will participate in the upcoming Business Arena – the top event in the real estate business – arranged for the first time now in Helsinki. We will be discussing the future of cities, sustainable development and the current development projects at our stand. Look us up and meet with our property developers, follow the podcast interviews and listen to Urban Sense at Messukeskus on 4 February!

Eelis Rytkönen will participate in the panel discussion on real estate management and sustainability. The panel discussion will be held from 1:30 to 2:00 pm. In addition to Rytkönen, the panel discussion will be participated by Lotta Partanen, the manager of the VTT LaunchPad business incubator, and Mari Rajaniemi who is the director of Environment and Energy Services at Realia Management. Read more about the event: