TECHNOLOGY: Simon Carter’s company Morphosis and other supporting organisations last week launched the Sustainable Digitalisation Project – a collaboration making digitalisation in real estate and cities responsible, ethical and sustainable.
From smart buildings to robotic omelette makers, the appetite for technology that makes our lives easier continues to grow.
But what’s the cost of this convenience? This is the type of question that Simon Carter, managing director at Morphosis, is hearing more of, especially over the past year.
People are waking up. For example, Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs’ plans for smart neighbourhood in Toronto triggered enormous conversations about that region and what it meant for the community there.
“We’re at this interesting point where the community and technology are coming together.
“But in this case, there’s a massive asymmetry of knowledge. Google knows a lot more about data then the city of Toronto did, so how do we navigate that?”
Carter says we have reached a critical point. “Human kind is crossing that threshold into a digitalised future right now.
“We’re laying down the foundations for this future at the moment. It is a structural change for our businesses, for our community, for governments, for society.”
That’s why Carter’s company Morphosis and other supporting organisations are launching the Sustainable Digitalisation Project – an industry collaboration making digitalisation in real estate and cities responsible, ethical and sustainable. It was launched in Sydney last Wednesday evening.
The project is led by roundtables in Sydney and Melbourne made up of representatives from major developers, councils, universities, investment firms and other organisations.
The work of the roundtables will fall into a few different tranches.
The first will be determining sustainable digitalisation goals.
The second will be a responsible property technology assessment so that tenants can have trust in the tech in their buildings and are able to compare it.
In partnership with GRESB, the project will also determine what indicators investors should be focusing on in this space. Carter says that the sustainability profile of technologies can have a material impact on investments, using the Christchurch shootings as an example.
“Christchurch brought together many governments and tech leaders to look at the issue of propagation of violence on social media.
“But what I wanted to flag, is behind this was a whole lot of investors, $5 trillion New Zealand in assets led by a NZ group, including Australian super funds, that addressed the agenda to the Christchurch event.
“Why? Because this is material to their investments, its material to their shareholders.”
The final component will involve looking into the ESG implications of autonomous vehicles in the urban environment and “the upsides and the downsides of that”.