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The Place Report 2016

How do we live, shop, work and play? Marta Catalan Eraso finds out as Brickfields Consulting launches its annual global trends report, presented together with HASSELL.

  • Technology is a crucial part of current liveability trends

  • Technology is a powerful force in the world of healthcare

  • HASSELL's vision for the Urban Forest on the East Bank of the Huangpu River, Shanghai, China

  • Pop-up experiences are increasingly popular

  • Educational playscapes for kids

  • Pop-up accommodation



BY Marta Catalan Eraso

December 19th, 2016


Earlier this month, Brickfields Consulting launched its annual report on the top 10 global trends that affect how we shop, work and play. On 8 December 2016, David Grant, Consulting Research Director at insights firm Brickfields Consulting and Angus Bruce, Head of Design and Board Director at HASSELL, the international design practice, presented The Place Report 2016 here in Hong Kong at the HASSELL studio.

Grant and Bruce told those present that technology is a crucial part of these trends, enabling immediate access to uses or spaces that otherwise would remain only within the reach of smaller communities.

Walkability is increasingly important in our cities, bringing to life apps that connect real estate with public spaces or facilities within walking distance. Meanwhile, growing health concerns and a spike in interest in health monitoring are leading to the development of health kiosks with online consultancies that link to pharmacies. Demand for retail convenience is also leading to the development of mini fashion bars in hotel rooms that, instead of drinks, offer us clothing that’s appropriate for the location, weather and events.

The global trends presented also offered new insights into the residential space. This realm is changing as consumers shift their interest from mass production to mass customisation, as Ikea’s laboratory in Malmo shows. The domestic arena is also penetrating the workspace, with projects such as the Hush emerging on the scene. This womb-like space for one lets you rest wherever and whenever you are; then there’s or the Breather app, which unlocks spaces around you that are open for you to rest in – all chargeable at an hourly rate and available at the click of a button.

In the world of hospitality, pop-up experiences are now coming to the fore, allowing you to stay in unique and shifting places for a short period of time. For example, there is the Spontaneity Suite, a floating hotel room made from two shipping containers, which moves around different locations in Sydney.

Other trends presented at the launch and in the report focused on playscapes, ethical development, private galleries and under-utilised public space.

At the launch event, Bruce spoke about how China fits into the larger picture of global trends. “China’s mentality is about increasingly recognising a consciousness for social and environmental issues,” he said. “Before, there was a testing of the market and import of intelligence, whereas now, returnees who have been trained abroad are changing the way that China faces new city development in a much smarter way.”

Grant, meanwhile, commented on the possible effect of the Asian region on these global trends. “The rate of living density in Asia will definitely impact on the way habitation is regulated and will lead a more refined use of public space,” he said. “Unlike other continents such as South America or Africa, here you have a growing middle class that has smartphones and uses technology to explore the economic potential of new ways of using and sharing their cities. In a few years’ time, we might not own a house, but have a membership that allows us to live in and visit various places around the world.”

The Place Report 2016 is available for download in various free and paid versions on Brickfields Consulting’s website. Click here to find out more.