HomeInSPireFrom physical to virtual: how our world is changing
From physical to virtual: how our world is changing
Our world is becoming increasingly digital, and the impact on how we view our homes and our communities is changing to match. How has our notion of connectivity changed, and how will that alter the way we live our lives? Read on for our insights.
As the world becomes more digitally connected, our sense of what "connectivity" means is changing. Everything – from how we work, how we communicate with our friends, to how we sell our homes – is being transformed into a truly digital experience.
Exploring just how our sense of “connectivity” is altering the way we interact with the world, we look at how traditional ways of living have been converted into virtual experiences.
The traditional sense of community
Once upon a time, the idea of connectivity and the joys of everyday life as a society were tied to the groups you belonged to. Nations, religious organisations, gatherings of like-minded individuals, clubs and sporting societies provided the backbone of our sense of community and connection, and inspired people to come together in common cause.
Even more remotely in the past, we can see the ancient historical evidence of
community, such as those found in Catalhoyuk, a 9,500-year-old Neolithic, or New Stone Age settlement. Historians ponder the reasoning for the establishment of this – potentially the first – permanent community. Perhaps it was created due to a common desire to share a spiritual understanding, or simply a way of moving from a hunter- gatherer society towards an agricultural one. Despite the thousands of years between that moment and this, our desire to connect and foster community has always been prevalent.
The move into digital
With the advent of the internet in the 1990s, as a species we broadened our horizons to add individuals to our community on a global scale. Rather than being limited to our native countries or other groups closer to home, we were able to encompass compatriots across the globe.
Technology has given us connectivity as never before. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more give us new senses of belonging across all facets of our everyday lives. From online shopping and remote working, to the establishment of new
digital communities, our lives have changed drastically to meet the technological revolution and the current crisis has increased the pace of that change.
Even our home communities are moving into the digital space. Local digital networks, such as Nextdoor, have given us insights into our area – or completely new areas – in a way never experienced before.
Replicating our offline experiences
This move into virtual communities may have changed the way we interact with each other, but our desire to interact with the world at large has not changed. We desire our online experiences to replicate our offline ones; the rise of virtual and mixed reality has hown that we want to be able to use technology to augment our experiences, rather than replace them.
This extends to finding your perfect home. A Virtual Viewing can take place at the buyer or tenant’s convenience from the comfort of their current home. We’ve come a long way from the real estate agents’ brochure of the old days, with two-dimensional black and hite photographs; today you can narrow down your search before even stepping out of your door in a highly immersive way.
Not only can abuyer or tenant view the property from the inside out as if they were there, satellite imagery and photography provided by software such as Google Maps can give an even greater sense of immersion. Local communities can also be discovered online, with information on schools, restaurants, and commuting times conveyed in the minutest detail. The ease and convenience with which we can do something as complex as decide on our new home is a sign of how progressive our society has become.
A new way of experiencing the world
More now than ever, we are moving towards technology-led ways of experiencing the world around us. Our digital prowess allows us to see and hear new places and activities happening many hundreds of miles away from us, in the time it takes to open up a search engine. Our sense of community – and what it means to be connected to our universe – is constantly evolving and expanding even in these challenging times.
As we discuss in our Future Living publication, society as we know it may be unrecognisable in a few short years. The best way to meet new challenges and enrich our lives is to embrace the change, and to ensure that we maintain our own connectivity with the world around us.