The West Coast Professor – The Property Chronicle
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The West Coast Professor

My World 2021

My world: June 2021…

This is part of a series of articles where our contributors describe how they think things will look a year from now.

I see a friend on the way into the New York office building where I have a presentation to an investment board that I advise, and we both thrust fist bumps towards each other without actually touching.  My phone app has a sensor that automatically opens the front door to the building and I see on the screen as I approach “Welcome Dr. Miller, you are cleared to visit”. Had I had a temperature it would have stayed closed, pending an additional screening. Inside is another display that it is “Gold Certified from the Healthy Building Institute”, as sanctioned by the WHO, an organization that President Biden has re-committed to supporting. This certification is hard to attain and requires significant improvements in the HVAC filter system capable of monitoring gases, filtering out nearly all microbes, similar to a super-hepa system combined with ionization and with some negative airflows.  

Once inside, I use my phone again to indicate the desired floor and the app directs me to get on car #3.  Inside are three others and the wording on the info screen suggests there is capacity for 8, even though it used to say 14.  Inside we all stand perfectly spaced as if we are magnetically repelling each other.  Two of the passengers have masks on and two do not, and we get dirty frowns from those wearing the masks, as if we are members of some extreme political party like the newly formed “Imagine Global Citizens Party” that wants to abolish individual countries.

After approaching the door where my meetings are to be held, it opens sensing my arrival. This phone battery dependency has made me somewhat paranoid about always charging the battery.  Thank goodness my upgraded battery can last three days now, important while traveling, as I use it for practically everything. It even has a thin pocket in the back for my driver’s license, so I don’t need a wallet. 

A virtual concierge directs me to the furthest conference room down the hall.   The temperature is automatically adjusted to the one I requested and the AV system is turned on based on my earlier request with lights and shades adjusted mechanically, but again touchless.

After my stimulating presentation, key principals of the group and I walk to grab lunch in a famous New York sandwich shop, but instead of packing us in like sardines as in prior years we are now among a rather spacious gathering, perhaps half what we would have had before. Prices are much higher for this sit-in restaurant, despite a lower rent than paid a few years back. Our server wears a pin certifying her commitment to health and cleanliness and wears a cute mask with a kitten face.  The manager wears one with Jack Nicholson’s extreme smiling smirk. Personalities revealed? Food is served with bio-degradable disposable utensils. After a bite, I head off to the airport, ordering a regular Uber as opposed to a gold certified clean car as I am feeling rather immune and healthy today. 

My World 2021

About Norman Miller

Dr. Miller is the Hahn Chair of Real Estate Finance at the University of San Diego (USD), and Vice-President of the Homer Hoyt Institute, a think tank of global real estate scholars and industry research directors. As Senior Vice President of Research for Collateral Analytics he helps develop real estate analytic products and tools to support financial institutions, banks andinvestors including valuation models, mortgage risk products, and using machine learning for data analytics.

Articles by Norman Miller

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