How Smartphones Are Upending the Value of Real Estate

It used to be that visibility was the most important factor in siting a business. This may no longer be the case, argues Kevin Klinkenberg, as smartphones make location irrelevant.
June 2, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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It used to be that visibility, whether along a commercial strip to be seen from a car, or on main street to be seen by a pedestrian, was one of the precious rules of retailing, and, as a result, was one of the main components that determined the value of real estate.

However, according to Klinkenberg, "That world that we've all become familiar with in planning and development appears to be on the verge of turning upside-down. In the new world of commerce, every business drives people to their stores with Facebook pages, reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon, and specials via Twitter. A plethora of smart phone apps can easily lead you to any category of business. Food trucks in many cities even change their locations daily, and tweet them to their thousands of followers."

"I no longer need to walk or drive by a business to know it's there – I simply need to access its location on my phone, and follow the GPS-enabled map to get there."

"How," Klinkenberg asks, "will this technological change impact how we use our cities and towns, and how real estate is valued?"

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Published on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 in New Urbanism Blog
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