Photo credit: Funan IT Mall
Technology is changing the way we live, work, play and learn. Cutting edge urban models in Southeast Asia are responding to this change and catering to youths and their lifestyles. As new business models emerge, we see more innovative buildings, a merging of land uses and more social and communal spaces.
Southeast Asia cities are growing faster than in many parts of the world. Urban populations are growing at 2.2% while economies expand at 5% annually. The population is young with a median age of just 30 years old. Domestic consumption is soaring as the middle-income population in Southeast Asia is expected to grow by 9% CAGR by 2020. Mobile penetration is growing and there are 300 million Facebook users in Southeast Asia, more than in any other continent.
The urban environment in Southeast Asia is transforming to cater to the changing needs of youths in Southeast Asia. Mega projects integrating live, work, play and learn elements in a “city-within-a-city” allow for seamless connectivity and convenience. The large scale of these communities allow developers to provide unmatched amenities in the form of bio-diversity gardens inspired by concepts such as rice terraces and cloud gardens, waterfalls, civic plazas, art venues together with greenery and open spaces. Smart infrastructure such as district cooling, centralized security or energy management systems are incorporated. Marina One in Singapore developed by M + S Pte Ltd, One Bangkok developed by TCC and Frasers Centrepoint Limited and One Bonifacio High Street in Philippines by Ayala Land Inc are good examples.
Young consumers with strong spending power and a taste for the eclectic are inspiring unconventional shopping malls in Southeast Asia. Some incorporate cycling tracks and a “tree of life” within the building while others exhibit a FIFA qualified soccer field and Olympic size skating rink or fish ponds and green steps. As online retail penetration increases, more experiential urban concepts that juxtapose retail with play, sports and performance may become necessary. Funan in Singapore by CapitaLand Mall Trust, SM Mall of Asia in Philippines by SM Prime, Q-Big in Indonesia by Sinar Mas Land are pushing the envelope.
A third space is under experiment at Open House in Central Embassy Bangkok, developed by the Central Group. Not retail, nor lounge, nor office, nor restaurant, yet all of the above, the space has eight zones which are open to families and individuals taking a rest, buying a book, working on a pitch or having a cocktail.
Within the co-working, co-living and learning sphere, new models are springing up all over Southeast Asia. At the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine’s new campus in Singapore, experiential learning occurs using simulated hospital wards, plastinated human specimens and virtual bodies. Many co-working spaces slant towards bringing us back to nature or taking inspiration from nature. Hubud in Bali, Indonesia, is fully built out of bamboo and set in verdant paddy fields while Toong in Hanoi, Vietnam, features an art gallery, meditation room and a bar and games room. Popularity has grown and they now have five outlets in Vietnam. Workers in Alexandra Technopark in Singapore by Frasers Commercial Trust will, in the near future, enjoy cycling tracks, end-of-trip facilities and farm plots for growing their own vegetables within the compound. In South Quarter in Jakarta Indonesia by PT Intiland Development, the new office buildings are orientated to minimize solar energy absorption and incorporate a louver design inspired by traditional rattan baskets.
For the full release, WEF ASEAN Paper 2017
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