In the next decade what qualities and features would a smart, multifamily dwelling unit (MDU) property and its environs have if it were developed by a research oriented medical center with the mission of optimizing both the mental and physical well-being of its tenants?

Living and working in a place designed for fostering good heath can have significant long-term consequences on residents’ well-being. Planning and developing a MDU property can consume several years and typically the product is merely a projection of what has been successfully developed over the past decade. What if an institution developed a residential community that projected itself into the next decade for the purpose of testing features that anticipated the emergence of sophisticated AI in everyday life, the adoption of mobile robotics and always-on, ubiquitous personal digital assistants and health related sensors?

Urban and building form may evolve; interior performance and feedback may be more integrated; equipment and appliances may join the Internet of Things. Most residential real estate developers are second adopters, and thus, pushing the envelope will plod along at the current, slow pace. Testing and proving the effectiveness of new techniques in smart and connected communities that promote a healthy life may provide an exemplar for capitalizing on the added value of healthful MDU environments.

Medical Center Futures: Build a Demonstration Project

The Medical Center as a Compact Smart Community proposes to research, program and design a demonstration project that can serve as a potential model for how a community can live, work, learn and play within an existing, densely developed urban district. Phase one will address the research, program, design and feasibility of building a residential development that anticipates the future role that the physical environment and building intelligence might play in the next decade (this grant). If phase one demonstrates feasibility, phase two would involve the construction and stabilization of the pilot project (funded by other sources) and phase three will be a multi-year, longitudinal research project to track, analyze and provide feedback of tenant health (funded by public or private research funding sources). Traditional, similar MDU properties in the neighborhood could provide opportunities for comparative analysis of the test project.
The demonstration apartment building should have flexible interiors; equipment and furnishings that enable alterations and substitutions; and as many giga-economy features as possible. Companies developing new technologies related to living a healthy life will be encouraged to use this prototype apartment building for their alpha and beta sites. The intention is to build a ‘leap frog’ project that will inform similar institutions around the nation to build similar MDU’s (250 other medical center sites).

Three level approach: district, building, unit

Features that might be included at the District level include: light rail connections; use dark fiber; walkability features beyond bldg; autonomous vehicle optimization; 12 passenger autonomous shuttle; build over existing parking lots; walk to work benefits; and others yet to be identified.

Building level features might include: provide no personal car parking; optimizes autonomous vehicle use; Uber & Lyft: analogies; optimize delivery of everything; LEED platinum goal; biophilic optimization; health related common facilities; performance feedback, etc.

Unit & Person level features: beta test best of emerging AI PDAs; smart phone as genius phone; privacy vs tracking issues; drone landing deck pads (delivery); Internet of Things testing; work from home & 10-minute walk; 10 Gigabit connectivity; diagnostic & health monitoring;

Essential idea

Using existing and emerging technologies and social features, build a prototype demonstration of the future of buildings.