As the baby boomer generation ages, increasingly the idyllic countryside retirement is being replaced by city-based retirement. Compelling the move back into the heart of cities is greater access to the arts, better healthcare and less reliance on the need to drive. It is this trend of re-urbanisation that is adding to swelling city populations and in turn, increasing infrastructure demands and service needs.
Cities are not physically growing in size, it is the numbers living in them that is swelling and this creates a plethora of issues and potential problems – from environmental to social.
Hospitals, rehabilitation centres and assisted living facilities will be needed to service this aging population. Unlike other sectors facing the rise of the digital age, real estate is a prerequisite. Much of the infrastructure needed for this tectonic demographic shift has yet to be built and we are on the cusp of a construction buildout across the country that will facilitate the way our aging population lives. For example, growth in the senior population will necessitate the need for a 30% increase in hospital beds by 2030.
One of the resources that will be stretched by this trend is water. There is no operational leverage in water; each individual requires two litres of water to sustain life every day. The more people push into cities the greater the amount of water we’re going to need to transmit into those cities.
Jim Lydotes – Mellon.