Disruptive Tech Property Industry Impact – Next-Generation Genomics

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY SOPHIE MAKRIS PSeventh in the series of posts on how the McKinsey & Company 12 Disruptive Technologies could impact the property industry. This one is going to need some creative ‘prepping’ – how could genetic modification affect the property industry?

Lets start with a fairly easy one – advanced bio-fuel production.

If we could improve the manufacturing of bio-fuels through technologies such as algae production we could potentially see algae production within buildings themselves. Could genetic modification create an even faster or more productive energy system? Could it be grown at such a rate that an office building could produce enough bio-fuel within its own boundaries that it could power a trigeneration unit to operate off-grid?

Now what about materials in the construction of buildings?

Bamboo has been used in the construction of buildings for many years, both in scaffolding in Asia as well as in the construction of homes in developing countries and flooring in homes in the developed world. Its known as a rapidly renewing material, meaning it grows bloody quick.

What about if we could genetically modify bamboo to increase its strength to the level of carbon fiber, creating a rapidly renewable material that could be used to reduce the amount of concrete or steel used in a building – now that would be awesome.

How about urban agriculture? 

I know that we have an aversion to genetically modified foods but could it be done in a safe enough way to allow us to grow more of our food in urban areas?

Maybe we could create foods that rely on less soil, less light and higher pollutant levels to allow us to grow food on top of or within our buildings?

Or maybe we should be reducing urban sprawl over our much valued agricultural land and not growing food in our cities.

So how about furry facades? 

Could genetic modification allow us to grow micro plants on our buildings that could greatly improve air quality in our cities without harming the integrity of the facades themselves? Could we create plants that would thrive when air pollution is poor soaking up our pollutants but then the naturally die back when the air quality improves?

Its tricky to see how advanced genomics could impact our property industry.

What do you think? Have a missed something obvious?

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