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Urban Land Institute event explores multiple elements of ‘the business of wellness’

Urban Land Institute event explores multiple elements of ‘the business of wellness’
October 5, 2018

Multiple elements of ‘The Business of Wellness’ have been explored at a recent Urban Land Institute event -  with speakers exploring opportunities in the built environment’s wellness and lifestyle space, addressing commercial implications, impact, relevancy to different asset classes and future direction.

Addressed by four speakers - wellness entrepreneur Tony de Leede; URBNSURF founder and Chairman, Andrew Ross; University of NSW Professor of the Built Environment, Catherine Bridge and architect, Geoff Wilson -  highlights and considerations of the event, held late last month, included:

• Application of these new and emerging technologies, methods and systems that can be integrated for preventative health and wellness at varied scale and across asset categories - residential, office, mixed use, aged care, retail and leisure - through business models that underscore the financial viability of addressing health and wellbeing.

• Wellness-oriented product and service business models are increasingly tapping overlooked and underserved markets beyond those that are conventionally fitness or sports-oriented, while delivering facilities, programs and amenity conventionally associated with public community facilities, by the private sector. This gives rise to funding model opportunities, as well as issues regarding equitable access to wellness services by users.

• The integration of inclusive design into universal design principles for the built environment offers not just the possibility to harness society’s potential, but future-proofs built environments, particularly given Australia’s rapidly ageing population and the high probability of some level of disability for the aged.

Global Wellness Institute research shows that Australia is the world’s third largest wellness real estate market, correlating a strong basis for inclusive design with demand.

Geoff Wilson, Head of design firm geoffreything.studio, set the evolutionary tone of retail precincts, describing its transition of from inward facing malls to environments that integrated the outdoors inside, through natural light, plantings and experiential precincts. This has morphed into resort inspired environments featuring biophilic design, with facilities and programming more commonly associated with public community provisions such as swimming pools, skate parks and play spaces.

Wilson anticipates retail’s next step will move to multi level, mixed-use, 24/7 integrated developments where boundaries between what’s retail, fitness, community, residential and work will be increasingly blurred.

Tony de Leede, former Chief Executive of Fitness First Australia, current Chief Executive of Wellness Solutions and Global Wellness Institute Board member, emphasised healthy ageing, explaining the growth of fitness from mass to personalised, holistic and boutique.

He presented products that bring customised solutions, attracting non-gym audiences, such as digital libraries offering extensive education and fitness content in varied time formats.

de Leede sees fitness environments transitioning both to more immersive environments through technology, such as the Somadome wellness pod, as well as to softer, more nurturing, community-driven spaces for specific markets such as Club W for women.

Key benefit of these products and services is elimination of ongoing labour costs in delivery of wellness experiences.

Professor Catherine Bridge shared research that highlighted the need to better calibrate inclusive design to evidence-based benchmarks, enabling independence and autonomy of older and disabled persons.

Reframing perceptions of disability to include the breadth of physical and mental impairment, particularly crucial for Australia’s ageing population. The effect of this is relevant across scale -  at precinct level as well as for retro-fit modification of fixtures and fittings across residential spaces. Professor Bridge presented evidence of environmental design substitutes for care, with the desired model for private and public housing being to adopt an adaptable and universal design approach. Professor Bridge’s work includes creation of industry tools for evidence-based design for human diversity, such as through the Livability Lab, in collaboration across both private and public industry.

Andrew Ross presented the technology and background to URBNSURF, Australia’s first surf wave parks: resolving conventional inconveniences and challenges of traditional surfing by creating a safe, convenient and accessible surfing environment that democratises the sport.

Research shows this new concept captures the interest of currently underserved and non-surfer markets, and leverages all six mega trends identified in CSIRO’s report on the future of Australian sport. The scalable product concept caters to all levels of participation, progression through to performance, with a business model that monetizes across leisure, instruction, events, amenity and accessories.

Sponsored by Barrangaroo Delivery Authority, the event was organised and moderated by Kristina Pacheco, Principal of Maurph, a strategic design practice specialising in holistic wellness.

The event was co-organised by Esther Dickins, Director of Scott Carver. 

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) is a non-profit research and education organisation with a mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

Founded in 1936, the Institute has now more than 38,000 members worldwide representing the entire spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines, working in private enterprise and public service.

Images: Fitness First Barangaroo (top), the concept for Australia's first URBNSURF attraction (middle) and Tony de Leede's Club W concept (below).

Related Articles

18th July 2018 - Urbnsurf Perth development a step closer after Supreme Court win

9th April 2018 - Global Wellness Summit announces ‘Shaping the Business of Wellness’ as 2018 theme

14th March 2018 - The ‘gym of the future’ to open at Virgin Active Barangaroo

14th March 2018 - Tony de Leede launches Club W concept, a new ‘third space’ for women’s wellness

21st February 2018 - URBNSURF announces investment backing for Australia’s first surf park

14th February 2018 - Tony de Leede to co-chair 2018 Global Wellness Summit

30th August 2017 - Legendary entrepreneur Tony de Leede to join Fitness Australia Board of Directors

15th February 2017 - De Leede ready to launch fifth YogaBar studio

23rd August 2015 - Barangaroo Reserve opening returns historic headland to Sydney

28th May 2015 - Fitness First partners with Lend Lease to open two new gyms in Sydney’s Barangaroo development

13th July 2014 - World walking leaders step towards wellness and sustainability

7th October 2012 - Bill Clinton opens Technogym global wellness village

8th March 2012 - Urban design can boost activity and health


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