HP Spectre

A laptop doesn’t have to be bulky to be powerful. It doesn’t have to be ugly for that matter, either. Slowly more attention is invested in the appearance of the devices in our life. Apple’s inclination towards attractive designs has proved to be a win and an example to follow. So things are changing. HP prepared a stunning surprise launching its latest ultra-portable laptop, Spectre. It has an aluminum, carbon fiber and copper body that’s only 0.41 inches thin with a 13.3-inch, edge-to-edge display covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and Bang & Olufsen audio with lace-like speakers. The laptop comes in a smoky gray color with gold accents—the entire hinge is a bright, jeweled gold which was moved in from the rear edge, inset by a bit. HP packed a beautiful surprise under the hood: instead of powering Spectre with Intel’s lower-power Core M line of processors—like the 12-inch MacBook and Samsung Galaxy TabPro S did—they’ve used the current-generation mainstream Intel Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs combined with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. This amount of power needs cooling—the fans are much smaller (and quite silent) and pull the air in and through the laptop, rather than exclusively pushing hot air out. It’s a version of a cooling scheme from Intel which they call hyperbaric cooling. To better power the laptop, HP found inspiration in Apple and used a set of four differently sized internal battery packs flattened down into multiple separate thin cells, to fit across most of the bottom footprint. The company claims the battery life goes up to 9 hours and 45 minutes. The HP used a standard island-style keyboard that’s backlit. They feel a bit shallow with a shorter key travel due to the base’s thin...

Workspace Reimagined May25

Workspace Reimagined

What happens when interior design mimics software development and architecture merges with technology? For the founders of WeWork, the end result is a property management hybrid that owes more to start-ups than real estate agencies. With an estimated worth of $16 billion, founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey have managed to elevate the business of renting office space in a way that appeals to millennials and embraces the versatility and tech-savvy innovation of Silicon Valley. Unlike other workspace rental companies, WeWork aims to provide more than just a desk and some Wi-Fi. WeWork memberships provide a whole host of benefits. WeWork’s 50,000 members can expect “super-fast Internet,” cleaning services, on-site community managers, and free coffee, tea, fruit water and, of course, beer on tap – all for a fee of $45-1000 per month. Tailor Made Office Space For quick deployment, uniformity is an essential aspect of the company’s business model. But, as it turns out, a typical WeWork office is not so typical. The Williamsburg locale features all the accoutrements of the hipster lifestyle – craft beers, exposed brick, and wood paneling abound – but WeWork offices are customizable based on location and need. Customization is achieved through innovative use of Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM trades blueprints for digital models. Through digitization, building designers can plan for the lifespan of a project, from construction to cost management and facility operations. The ability to adapt appealed to WeWork’s founders. After collaborating with architectural design firm Case on several WeWork locales, they eventually purchased the company. “When you go to a normal architecture firm they aren’t going to be innovative in terms of their systems,” McKelvey told Wired. “They’re not going to be thinking of the whole lifespan of this project, or how do we...

Megan O’Meara May24

Megan O’Meara

Megan O’Meara, Account Executive, Affordable Housing, had not worked on solid ground in nearly five years. When she did finally trade in her scuba cylinders for heels, O’Meara plunged into her first day on the job: rather than an orientation and office tour, she joined more than 300 members of the Yardi Sales and Marketing for a conference in Santa Barbara. In a whirlwind of presentations and meetings, she maintained her bright smile and enthusiasm. “Working to get the hang of everything all at once has felt a little daunting” admits O’Meara. “But with constant determination, I am starting to more efficiently find my way around!” We caught up with the former boat captain to get a glimpse into her first few months with Yardi in Denver. Tell us a bit about your professional life before Yardi. O’Meara: For the past five years, I had been working on the ocean as a Captain of the 138-foot SCUBA diving charter yacht, The Sun Dancer II, in Belize and the Dominican Republic. We departed from Belize City every Saturday for a week of diving in the Lighthouse Reef area, including Half Moon Caye and the famous Blue Hole. We returned the following Friday to restock supplies and pick up new guests. Three months of the year we would travel to the Dominican Republic, where guests were able to swim with giant humpback whales. I was responsible for the safety and entertainment of 20 guests and the management of 10 crew during our week-long trips.  In addition to my duties as a Captain, I had the opportunity to lead underwater adventures as a SCUBA instructor while producing a weekly trip video and slide show set to music. That sounds amazing! Real estate software seems like a huge shift....

Instant Housing Crisis May20

Instant Housing Crisis

On May 1, 2016, a fast-moving wildfire began near Fort McMurray in northeast Alberta, Canada. The fire forced the largest evacuation in Alberta’s history and destroyed more than 2,000 homes, while 90,000 people fled the flames. Evacuees headed south in a scene reminiscent of an apocalypse movie. They made it away safely, but waiting at the end of the road was an instant housing crisis. “Residents won’t be able to return home until it is safe to do so,” Alberta Premiere Rachel Notley informed thousands of anxious evacuees. “Residents of Fort McMurray should not expect to return home for an extended period of time.” There were apartments to rent, but a way to share information about them was missing. The Provincial Government of Alberta, including the municipal government of Edmonton, scrambled to connect fire evacuees with a searchable, trustworthy, easy-to-use housing registry. It needed to be ready fast to connect an estimated 4,500 evacuees seeking housing with new homes and apartments. Reaching out The Capital Region Housing  Corporation, a social housing provider in the city of Edmonton, reached out to its real estate technology provider, Yardi Canada Ltd., part of global software firm Yardi Systems. Based in Santa Barbara, Calif., Yardi is an industry leader and well-known provider of software for real estate companies around the world. Greg Dewling, CEO of Capital Region Housing, contacted Peter Altobelli, Vice President and General Manager of Yardi’s Canadian subsidiary. Altobelli quickly reached out to Yardi founder and CEO Anant Yardi, who said that his company would provide development services without commercial terms. Yardi’s RENTCafé apartment search platform was ideally suited to address the crisis, and its development team was ready to leap into action. Dewling made his first call to Yardi late in the afternoon of Monday, May 9. By the early afternoon of Thursday, May 12, he viewed a nearly final product. Development of the housing registry website was complete in just 72 hours. “This was an excellent test of how quickly we can mobilize the RENTCafé platform,” said Chris Ulep, Vice President of multifamily product development at Yardi. “It truly demonstrated the capability of design, development and client services to work together and ensure that product update and production plan was delivered quickly.” “We were floored that they were able to turn it around so quickly,” Dewling said. “I shared this with colleagues at a real estate forum, and jaws were dropping about the speed of the initiative and what Yardi was doing to help. We were, to say the least, extremely impressed.” Behind the scenes The accomplishment of that 72-hour site launch was a global effort by Yardi executives, managers, programmers, designers and marketers. Staff members from Toronto, Canada; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Pune, India; and Cluj-Napoca, Romania were all part of the sprint to prepare the site. With teams in four different time zones, the project was on a 24-hour clock. Web designers in Santa Barbara created a site design and handed off to programmers in Cluj, who built the site. With the infrastructure in place, the project came back to Pune and Toronto for Quality Assurance and user testing. Monitoring of site performance was conducted in Toronto, Cluj, and Pune. As development neared completion, marketers in Cluj learned of the project and pitched in to publicize it via social media. To start the content process, Yardi clients in Canada were asked to list their vacant Alberta units, and many did so. “Everybody was incredibly dedicated to working quickly to get this done,” said Altobelli. “Employees around the world worked overtime. There was amazing communication.” The housing registry went live for all landlords to use on Friday, May 13. Vacant apartment listings began pouring in via webform and needed to be prepared for display. “Everyone came together to participate in this initiative,” said Stephen Teague, a client services manager in Toronto. “The RENTCafé team in Canada and India worked...

Renewable City May20

Renewable City

Blessed with an average of 266 sunny days per year, it’s no surprise San Diego currently generates 189 megawatts of solar power. Though it boasts the second highest solar wattage in the country, the city doesn’t plan to rest on its laurels. Instead, this southern California metropolis of over 1 million has set its sights on something grander: to be largest U.S. city completely powered by renewable energy. Known as the “birthplace of California,” this trans-border urban outpost sits at the center of U.S. innovation, playing host to military, biotechnology and medical research and manufacturing. Over the years, San Diego’s commitment to sustainability and environmentally focused city planning has resulted in an extensive infrastructure renaissance and citywide green initiatives. With an eye on reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the effects of global warming, a bipartisan coalition led by Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer unanimously approved the city’s Climate Action Plan last December. The goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions and shift to 100% renewable energy sources by 2035. The Climate Action Plan also includes a goal of 90% solid waste recycling along with significant funding for public transportation. “Today, we are faced with an issue that affects us all. Our city’s responsibility is to ensure a clean, sustainable San Diego for generations to come,” Faulconer writes in his introduction to the Climate Action Plan. “San Diegans from different backgrounds are coming together to proactively address environmental concerns, strengthen our economy and improve our quality of life.” The Climate Action Plan includes practical policies designed to strike a balance between environmental protection and economic opportunity. Those strategies include improved water resource management, targeted public information campaigns, and green jobs incentives. “We have an opportunity to improve the lives of every San Diegan,” concludes Faulconer. “This...

Affordable Refi May19

Affordable Refi

Low vacancies and high rents have positioned the market in your favor. Since the fourth quarter of 2009, apartment values have increased by more than 120 percent. If you are stuck in recession-time financing, make these market improvements work for you by refinancing your affordable property. As a result of revised terms, affordable, B-, and C-class properties are now eligible for new products through Freddie Mac Multifamily. Products range from $1 million to $5 million for properties with as few as five units. The organization funded more than $2.5 billion in small loans last year. To qualify for a cash-out refinance, properties must meet the “four S” credit standards of Freddie Mac Multifamily: Safe: A property with minimal crime on site, effective security, and a competent management team makes a good candidate. Stable: Stable cash flow and timely capital expenditures are two signs of a low-risk property. Structure: Properties that are code compliant and show steady maintenance records are enough to get you through the door. If your building has unique architectural details, you can gain a competitive advantage. Sponsor: The owner must demonstrate a net worth equal to the loan amount and liquidity equal to nine months of principal and interest. Once you meet those guidelines, then it is time to present your affordable property in the best light. These are the steps recently recommended by Freddie Mac Multifamily to maximize the potential of your refinance: Compile at least three years of historical annual operating financial statements and monthly rent rolls. If you have made capital improvements to the property, be sure to record them on your statements. Improvements shared in an agreement between you and your tenants are also of interest. Round up your maintenance records. Lenders want to see that the...

Tiny, Tiny House May19

Tiny, Tiny House

Economic crises and housing shortages have inspired many architects and engineers. Their desire to solve modern housing dilemmas has resulted in several affordable, efficient, and accessible units that change the way that we see multifamily housing. Below are two recent example of space-savvy and cost-effective housing. They could promote big changes in the multifamily marketplace. Kasita He started off by living in a dumpster. Apparently, that’s a great place to seek revelation. Dr. Jeff Wilson, a professor at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin lived in a 33-square-foot dumpster for a year. The experience brought him a sense of balance, flexibility, and simplicity that he feels the need to share with others. Dr. Wilson created Kasita, a tiny house made for urban settings. Traditional tiny houses are solitary and rustic. They’re often set up in the suburbs or rural areas. Owning one—and having a place to put it—requires connections to friends with available lots or enough cash to own a plot of land. Kasita is not this type of tiny house. Each 208-square-foot Kasita is meant to be stacked on “racks,” frames that work a bit like the skeleton of an apartment building. Racks provide hookups for city utilities. By stacking Kasitas vertically, owners can make the most of available space in urban settings. No land ownership is required. Simply a phone call can move owners from a rack in one city to an available rack elsewhere. A big-rig transports the Kasitas to one of 10 racks scheduled to open nationwide. Kasitas are a far cry from the cramped, one-size-fits-all cubes seen in dystopia movies. Inside, Kasitas allow for customization through a unique, wall-mounted tile system: shelves, cabinetry, and countertops can be configured to owners’ specifications. These features are a nice addition to a fully functional...

CoalBit

Power banks are no longer an innovation, but a Latvia-based firm designed a new device it hopes will differentiate itself from the rest. Draugiem Grupa came up with CoalBit, a 23-gram, 2×1.4-inch coal-shaped portable power bank which features a 560mAh battery, enough to juice your smartphone with three hours of talk-time, two hours of surfing the Internet, or listening to 10 hours of music. And this is not all. CoalBit includes a flashlight, in case you need one handy. But the novelty that makes the Latvian device differentiate itself from the rest comes from the inclusion of a Bluetooth locator which enables it to sync with any smartphone. By syncing it with the phone you can keep track of both your phone and whatever you attach to your CoalBit. Due to its small size, misplacing it is easy (as is your smartphone). The developers thought about it and found a solution: you can enable a distance alert that will buzz your phone when you get a little too far away from the tiny power bank. In the event you’ve lost it somewhere and haven’t enabled the feature, the firm built an app, available on iOS and Android platforms, which will inform you of the CoalBit’s last known location. Furthermore, in case of emergency you can send an SOS signal to your friends and family. Pretty cool feature, no? Like what you’re reading? Draugiem launched a Kickstarter campaign that you can back, aiming to reach an $84,000 funding goal that will enable them to finish development and begin production. The firm offers two versions of the product—the basic one, CoalBit Lite which removes the Bluetooth locator, and the regular one, CoalBit Standard, with all the features described above. In addition, CoalBit comes with either an...

Supersized Smart Home

When smart home technology integrates with our lives outside of the home, there is potential for greater innovation. Lennar Urban recently obtained the green light to develop 750 acres of a former military shipyard in San Francisco. Once completed, the mixed-use Shipyard Communities project will be like a single, expansive smart home for residents and tenants– a smart community. Lennar Urban teamed up with Bosch Software Innovations to transform the smart community concept into a reality. Bosch will gather hyper-local data on transportation, surveillance, and other public services and infrastructure. That data will then be organized and shared with Lennar residents through apps. Within parking garages, for example, a Bosch sensor system will alert users of vacant spaces. Data-based services will be available for private use as well. Parents can ensure that their kids safely make it home from school via a neighborhood GPS-tracking feature that communicates with a mobile app and the home’s security system. Residents will also be able to control home security, appliances, and more through a smart network of apps and devices. This project is just the tip of the iceberg for Bosch, which hopes to take its Smart Community apps to cities nationwide. Mike Mansuetti, president of Robert Bosch LLC, says, “The application for The Shipyards community was a collaboration from the beginning between Lennar Urban and Bosch, showcasing how Bosch works with communities to bring smart technologies to life in unique and exciting ways.” The collaboration between Bosch and Lennar could provide a more stable and valuable framework for smart home technology companies. Fortune has covered the drama unraveling at Nest and Revolv, Google’s cloud-based smart home devices.  Now that smart home technology is finally beginning to catch on, it seems too little too late. Revolv will be retired this May. Nest sales have missed revenue outlooks for the year. Smart home technology has had a difficult time building momentum with mainstream consumers.  Accenture LLP reports security as the main hurdle that tech companies must overcome: 47% of survey respondents cite security and privacy as obstacles to adopting smart home technology. Of those who purchased smart home devices, 18% stopped using them due to a lack of security guarantees. Users were also frustrated by regularly updating numerous apps that were not integrated. The Lennar-Bosch combo offers a model worth considering. Smart home technology is sold to builders rather than individual households. One company, rather than several companies, maintains hardware and software. That could be a major incentive. Of those surveyed, 82% of respondents want to control all their smart devices through one integrated security package. The Lennar Urban community is slated for completion in winter...

Voice Search May16

Voice Search

Voice search is growing at an incredible pace. As we write content, we need to adapt to its unique format and language. Search Engine Land reports that voice search has risen significantly in the past year. Nearly 42 percent of users adopted voice search in the last six months alone. During our recent Open Café session, the State of Search Marketing, we polled 100 users from across the U.S. to learn how they interacted with voice search. This is what we learned: 10 percent of people surveyed use voice search all of the time 30 percent of respondents occasionally use voice search 35 percent of respondents rarely use voice search Voice search appeals to about 75 percent of respondents, and that number continues to grow. When you consider that the average renter will view 20 properties online, but will only visit three in person, it is vital that your property appears at the top of their voice search results. Take a second look at your content through the lens of voice search. There are two key components that differentiate voice search from text search. The first is more descriptive, longer-tail keywords and the second is question-based search phrases. Greater Description with Keyword In a text search, users adapt to computer language. Short phrases such as “apartments cabbagetown atlanta” or “dates YASC DC 2016” offer just enough info to connect users with general information. With voice search, users speak to their personal assistant as they would a friend, using full-length and often complex sentences. “Siri, find one-bedroom apartments for rent near a MARTA station in Cabbagetown” or “Okay, Google: find the dates for YASC in Washington, D.C. this year.” With this in mind, write content that reflects how people speak to one another. You can...

Multifamily Investment May13

Multifamily Investment

This week, Yardi’s Jeff Adler (Vice President of Matrix) and Jack Kern (Director of Research/Publisher of MHN, CPE) presented a biannual webinar on the health and welfare of the U.S. multifamily investment sector. In an hour-long presentation, Adler and Kern summarized the various forces that impact investment, including job growth, oil prices, rent growth and supply. Data is derived from the reports created by Yardi Matrix, the industry’s most comprehensive apartment market intelligence platform. While striking a more cautionary note than six months prior, the outlook for multifamily investment remains very positive, Adler said. Occupancy is high and rent growth strong at 6 percent. “U.S. multifamily is still the place to be (for investors), even if the ride is at risk of a few potential transitory bumps in the road,” he commented. “The only caution I have is that the risk of global, debt driven macroeconomic dislocation, has, in our view, risen.” Concern about unstable economies in China, Japan and Europe, as well as slow growth in GDP at home, prompted the tempering of the outlook. “The US economy is the one eyed man leading the blind. If you look at the Eurozone, performance has been horrific. In Japan, it is a 20 year deflationary deadbeat. China is going through the right kind of transformation, but it’s going to take time and they’ve misallocated a whole bunch of capital,” Adler said. Looking at markets on a regional basis, some slowdown has been noted in previously red hot cities, Adler noted. “There’s deceleration going on in Houston, Denver, and San Francisco, but acceleration in Orlando, Atlanta and Phoenix,” he said. One factor that is influencing growth is what Adler called “intellectual capital nodes,” suburban neighborhoods with an abundance of creative individuals, a supportive business climate, and lifestyle amenities. “These are places where the value of place is most likely to increase,” Adler said. Seattle, Denver and Atlanta are all home to such submarkets. When it comes to supply, new apartment stock is being delivered – about 250,000 new units are in lease-up now, with a half-million under construction. But consumer demand remains high enough to absorb those new units and remain hungry for more. “Occupancies are high and sustainable in the 96 percent range for stabilized property,” Adler said. A big differentiator for apartments these days remains the in-unit washer dryer, he noted. Investors looking to add value to their properties should consider that amenity first as a way to stand out. The next Matrix outlook webinar will be presented in November, 2016. Find the presentation deck from Wednesday’s event here. Visit http://www.yardimatrix.com/ to learn more about the product, reports, and upcoming...

Google Local Pack May13

Google Local Pack

Do you want your listings to appear at the top of Google search results? Of course you do. Capitalizing upon your Google Business Listing is the first step towards a higher ranking. During our recent Open Café session, we polled 100 users from across the U.S. to learn if they maximize the potential of their Google Business Listings. This is what we learned: 55 percent of people surveyed have claimed their Google Business Listing 27 percent of users were not sure if they had claimed their Google Business Listing 18 percent of people surveyed have not claimed their Google Business Listing Your Google Business Listing is a quick, inexpensive way to enhance your digital presence and connect with prospects. It is the bridge between your property and prospects in your area who are searching for what you have to offer. By investing a little time in your Google Business Listing, you are making it easier for prospects to find your property through organic search as well as a listing in Google’s Local Pack. You’re likely familiar with Local Pack, even if you didn’t know the name of it. The Local Pack is composed of three business listings and a map that shows their location. Businesses that make it onto this top three list are more likely to get clicks since they are prominent in search results. Interested in joining that Local Pack? Here is how to get started: The Foundation Be sure to input all requested data on your Google Maps My Business Page, including hours of operation and details about your location. These key points will help Google match your property with the location terms used in searches. Proximity matters. “Near me” searches have increased by 130 percent in the last year. About...

Sony Xperia

Socrates famously declared, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Sony appears to have taken the old philosopher’s adage to heart. With the company’s trio of Xperia products – the Eye, the Projector and the Agent – consumers may soon be able to track, record, store all the minutia of their daily lives. All three products debuted as concept devices at the 2016 Mobile World Congress (MCW) in Barcelona earlier this year. The MWC, which typically takes place in February, is a prime time for major manufacturers to reveal new products and projects. Probably the simplest and least intrusive of Sony’s Xperia trio, the Eye takes the form of a wearable camera. The Eye resembles a small mp3 player, and wearers need only don the device before blissfully going about their day. Though it’s currently just a “conceptual vision” with no release date, Sony’s prototype updates the typical lifelogging camera with its voice and facial recognition capabilities and it’s “intelligent shutter technology” which allows the camera to pick and choose which moments to photograph. In a video for the products, a father passively watches his family open a gift box; his hands are unencumbered as the Eye quietly captures the scene for prosperity. The Xperia Projector is less surveillance minded than the Eye, but its intuitive interface also depends on what it can glean from its environment. Loaded up with data on appointments, locations, contacts and other facts and figures, the Projector transforms all that information into an interactive UI projected onto any surface, including walls and tabletops. Altering the projections is as simple as moving your fingertip across the images. In the future, this modest digital hub will be able to provide a personalized and customized experience for the whole family. Rounding out...

SubTropolis May12

SubTropolis

SubTropolis is the “World’s Largest Underground Business Complex,” developed by Kansas City Chiefs owner and real estate developer Lamar Hunt. The excavated mine, located in Kansas City, Mo., is approximately the size of 140 football fields. The underground city, 160 feet beneath the earth, was created through the mining of a 270-million-year-old limestone deposit which began in the 1940s. It wasn’t until 1960 that the owners realized they had a gigantic area they could rent, sell and lease for business operations. Now, 14 million square feet of the 55 million square-foot cave is an industrial park with illuminated, paved roads and several miles of railroad track. SubTropolis is home to over 50 national, international and local companies in the fields of e-commerce, automotive and storage industry. Approximately 1,700 employees work under the “World’s Largest Green Roof,” with the facility storing everything from postal stamps to the original film reels of Gone With the Wind. Currently 5 million square feet is occupied and about 3.2 acres of available space is added each year as active mining continues. The eco-friendly underground campus also houses a state-of-the-art data center; SubTropolis Technology Center. STC, an underground data center carved out of 18,000 to 24,000 pounds per square inch solid limestone which is six time stronger than concrete, provides a level of security and strength unmatched by any other traditional data center facility. Armed security, 24x7x365 patrols, monitoring, key card, gated barriers and biometric readers make the technology center an indestructible and impenetrable fortress. STC also has a six-acre equipment yard on the exterior surface for future infrastructure. SubTropolis Technology Center has the advantage of space, with millions of square feet available for IT and raised floor area. The facility provides customers with data center suites ranging from 5,000...

Retirement Benefits May11

Retirement Benefits

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but a new study of recently retired Australians proves there’s always time to change your life. Conducted by the University of Sydney, the study tracked more than 25,000 older Australians, recording their general health habits, including physical activity, alcohol use, and sleep patterns. These statistics were then compared to post-retirement behavior, and the results are surprising. Rather than wither on the vine, retirees seemed to find a new lease on life. In fact, many report becoming more active once they transitioned out of the workforce. “Our research revealed that retirement was associated with positive lifestyle choices,” said lead researcher Dr. Melody Ding, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health, in a statement about the research. “Compared to people who were still working, retirees had increased physical activity levels, reduced sitting time, were less likely to smoke, and had healthier sleep patterns.” Not only did study participants improve their overall health, but many of the differences were significant, even after adjusting for factors like age, sex, marital status, education, and residency. According to the study, nonworking senior citizens increased physical activity by 93 minutes per week, decreased sedentary time by over an hour per day, and increased sleep by 11 minutes per night. Additionally, over half of all female smokers quit smoking. For participants in the study, the biggest differences appeared among those who’d worked 40-hour weeks. Ding believes ditching commuting and finally abandoning inactive hours behind a desk provide seniors with the chance change their day-to-day lives, making room for more exercise, balanced meals, and better sleep. “The lifestyle changes were most pronounced in people who retire after working full-time,” says Ding. “When people are working and community, it...

Behind the Music May10

Behind the Music

Three years ago, Yardi caught up with Amy Williams, Director of Education and Community Engagement at Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. The program has grown a lot since then, reaching even more of the city’s youth with interdisciplinary art and the fun of a kid-centered community. “We’ve seen a huge increase in participation,” says Williams. “Three years ago, we reached 4,500 students and this year we’re anticipating 5,300. Concerts for Young People has 2,800 students now. That filled up in record time. We’re offering the same things but we’re seeing a huge shift of kids wanting to play great music and make new friends.” The friendships and sense of community draw most students through the doors, and keep them coming back year after year. Williams recalls one particularly heartwarming encounter: “This year, one of my high school students was excited, noisily coming into rehearsal. I said, ‘You’re very excited to be here.’ And he says, ‘Well, Amy, I belong here.’ I feel that’s the heart of it. We are where students feel they belong. The demographic in Santa Barbara has all sorts of languages, all sorts of backgrounds, but when they walk into classes and workshops they feel like they belong, by teachers and their peers. I feel very strongly about that and I’m very proud of the program.” While the kids are playing music and building their community, they are also preparing for their academic and professional futures. The benefits of music on adolescents have been well document in scholarly journals for decades. Nothing has changed, and that’s a good thing. “Music students develop 21st century skill sets that employers are looking for: teamwork, creative thinking, making connections between subject areas, and critical thinking,” says Williams. The skill sets do not develop overnight. Students...

Scene-iors on Stage May09

Scene-iors on Stage

Lights! Camera! Action! Outfitted with props, green screens, dazzling (homemade) costumes and what Matthew Hoffman calls “A lot of DIY ridiculousness,” elder thespians eagerly mug in front of the camera, inhabiting famous characters and recreating legendary movie scenes. It’s all part of Matthew Hoffman’s “Tuesdays with Matthew,” a wildly popular program that’s been praised for its chutzpah and brought a newfound sense of purpose to everyone involved. “The goal is to make their Tuesday afternoons feel like the best Friday night of their lives,” says Matthew in the group’s Titanic video. From Script to Screen It all started when Matthew, a television host and celebrity correspondent by day, stopped by a Los Angeles senior center looking for video material for his portfolio. He asked to work with some of the center’s residents, and soon discovered he could tap into his group’s creativity and spirit by directing short sketches based on scenes from famous movies. “When I first started my own group, we just read scenes from movies,” he tells People magazine. “But after a couple of months, I thought, ‘If they’re so excited about just reading these scenes, what would happen if we literally made our own movies and gave them something to really look forward to?’” “That is when my life changed, and I got really, really into this.” Back to Life For almost a decade Matthew, with the help of donations and spurred by the energy and enthusiasm of his performers, has been able to transform his weekly meetings into something dazzlingly different. “Tuesdays come to life,” Matthew says in an introductory video about the program, “and once we yell ‘action,’ the magic begins.” “I was sitting home watching TV,” explains another scene-ior, “I had nothing else to do. It’s given me...

Follow Ups May09

Follow Ups

You spend your marketing dollars attracting leads, but then what? How do you know if valuable emails and calls are slipping through the cracks? Maximize your conversions by cementing a follow-up strategy at your properties to make sure you’re getting the best return for your advertising spend. “We should not lose sight of the fact that through apartment leasing, we are providing homes to our customers, and a home is very personal and dear to many. There is nothing like that personal engagement and touch with the customer,” asserts EPMS, a leading multifamily consulting agency, in an article sharing leasing tips for apartment communities. Optimize your follow-up strategy by checking in with prospects and residents at these four critical times: First Contact Don’t miss a chance to convert a lead because you didn’t follow up fast enough! After a prospect has reached out to you over the phone, through email, or even via live chat, your team should be ready to respond and move the prospect to the next step – whether that’s scheduling a tour, completing an application, or something else. Remember, if you don’t respond quickly, your competitors will. After a Tour You’ve talked, you’ve walked, and now… well you’re not going to just shake hands and say goodbye, are you? Follow up with a call or email within 24 hours after any site visit to let prospects know that they’re important to you and that you represent a property that not only cares but also takes action. Post Move-In Let your new resident know that your relationship with them doesn’t end the day they move in. You’re not just trying to get people through the door, you’re working to cultivate happy residents who will become ambassadors for your community. Check in...

Apple’s Spaceship HQ May06

Apple’s Spaceship HQ...

During a product launch event in March, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that next year’s launches will take place at the company’s upcoming headquarters in Cupertino. Known as the ‘Spaceship Campus’ due to its flying-saucer-like design, the 2.8 million-square-foot Campus 2 project is set to become the largest privately owned office building in the country, outsizing even the Empire State Building. In terms of square footage, the four-story circular structure would only be surpassed by the Pentagon. Apple’s new innovation center, which is located one mile east of its existing facility at One Infinite Loop, broke ground in 2014. The project was designed by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs together with Norman Foster, founder & chairman of British architectural firm Foster+Partners. Jobs first unveiled the plan in 2011, noting that the structure would house at least 12,000 employees and would be surrounded by bucolic landscaping including orchards of fruit trees and other greenery. The project is now rising on the former Hewlett Packard site next to Interstate 280, on a more than 150-acre plot previously covered by asphalt parking lots. According to Bloomberg, the cost of the new development is estimated at almost $5 billion, from less than $3 billion, as initially predicted. Due to the large size of the ring-shaped building, which has a circumference of more than a mile around and a diameter of 1,521 feet, the vertical and horizontal proximities and adjacencies of the various departments that would need to work together have been carefully considered. Also, huge curved walls of glass will allow employees to look outside from both sides of the ring. Besides the office component, there will be café and restaurant space, which opens up to the landscape, as well as a $75 million wellness center and a corporate...

Bridging Generations May05

Bridging Generations

A camera pans across the room, revealing the usual suspects – senior residents grouped around small tables, some in wheelchairs, creating a typical scene playing out in senior living facilities across the world. And then, the unexpected…a young man enters, sitting down to share cakes and conversation. At that moment, it becomes clear – this is not your typical “old folks home.” Finland, like many industrialized nations throughout the world, is facing a severe housing problem. According to estimates, in Helsinki 90,000 renters are competing for approximately 60,000 units. This gap in availability has resulted in a brutal housing market, severely affecting young adults trying to move out and live independently. Ranked as the 16th most expensive city in the world, Helsinki is facing rapid population growth and ever-rising housing costs – leaving the city’s youth vulnerable to homelessness. “It’s a very expensive city to live in,” 23-year-old kindergarten teacher Emil Bostrom recently explained to CNN. “If you manage to get an apartment that the city owns, it can be quite affordable. But the amount of applicants for those apartments is so high that the waiting list takes forever.” “Youth homelessness is the sum of many parts, and there is no simple solution,” Finnish Youth Housing Association Secretary General Minna Vierikko declares. “It is essential that different actors join their forces and start seeking alternative models to solve the problem of youth homelessness. For Miki Mielonen, Homes That Fit provides a simple solution. Homes That Fit invites Finnish millennials to cohabitate with Helsinki senior citizens as part of a pilot program run by City of Helsinki’s Youth Department, Design Driven City, the non-profit rental housing company Alkuasunnot and the national youth housing association Nuorisoasuntoliitto. In exchange for socializing with elderly residents, 25 eligible participants...