With Oakridge we are attempting to challenge every element of conventional city-building. In traditional terms, this project could be described as around 3,000 homes for 600 residents, half million square feet of office for 3000 creative economy workers, a million square feet of retail, a 10-acre city park, one of the city’s largest community centres and daycares, the city’s second busiest library, a dance school, an entire complex powered by a district energy system harnessing the power from an adjacent sewer system. However, describing Oakridge in this way does disservice to our overarching aim. What we are trying to achieve is a project which brings all of these elements together in such a way that the retail feels like part of the park, which feels like part of the public art, which feels like part of the performance space. This holistic approach, if successful, will create a unique experience which we are confident will make Oakridge the largest single attraction in Western Canada. In a period of major technological upheaval and a rapidly evolving economy, we felt it was important to give our team and our partners joining us on this journey a look at this project through the lens of future transformation:

The role and purpose of retail space will no longer be principally to sell products. These spaces will act as living, breathing physical portals into brand and product experiences. They will become places we go to learn, be inspired, see and try new things, experiment and co-create. We’ll go to these spaces for entertainment, education, connection and community. The emphasis will no longer be on sales but rather on catalysing a relationship with the consumer that transcends the store. The way these spaces are planned, built, staffed, managed and measured will look and act nothing like the retail operations of today.

Emerging retail pioneers will lead an entirely new class of experiential retail over the next decade; they will use their physical stores not to sell products but to sell experiences that involve products. These new experiential retailers will be intensely creative masters of retail stagecraft, and experts at executing and measuring consumer experiences. The physical store will become the most powerful and measurable media channel available to a brand, and the customer experiences that take place there will be the most profitable product a retailer can sell.

Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years. Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties. Any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century. If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers will become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

In the US, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. In addition, Watson already helps nurses diagnose cancer, 4 times more accurate than traditional methods.

In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids will never get a driver’s licence and will never own a car.

Electric cars will become mainstream about 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact.

Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. Energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that can’t last. Technology will take care of that strategy.

In a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medical analysis, nearly for free. The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. This is a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breathe into it. It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease.

The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, 3D printinga became 100 times faster. All major shoe companies have already started 3D printing shoes. Some spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have in the past. In China, they already have 3D printed and built a complete 6-storey office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed.

At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home.

Aeroponics will need much less water. The first Petri dish produced veal, is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows. Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore. There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labelled as “alternative protein source” (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).

Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year. Four years ago, the life span used to be 79 years, now it’s 80 years. The increase itself is increasing and by 2036, there will be more than one-year increase per year. So we all might live for a very long time, probably way more than 100.

By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smart phone. That means everyone will have the same access to world class education. The cheapest smart phones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia.

Join us on this audacious jorney.

The redevelopment of Oakridge is a joint venture between QuadReal and Westbank, two of Canada’s leading real estate enterprises.