So, it's 2018, and there is a consensus across the industry that this year will see more change than before, and that change will be felt across the entire built environment.

Take Brisbane-based architect Michael Rayner and his notion that people today prefer dynamic spaces over static environments for work as well as leisure, for example.

“Change,” he says, is something that “holds their interest, which is reflected in the popularity
of the pop-up concept.”

Observing that big box retail centres are on their way out, Rayner says street shopping is “trending once again. Brisbane’s Fish Lane, for instance, is a constantly changing alleyway with exposed brick facades decorated with vibrant street art, restaurants, bars and cafes, pop-up food events, street dining, and small boutiques, all combining to give the visitor an eclectic and memorable experience.”

In terms of building materials, CLT (cross-laminated timber) panels are expected to become more wide- spread moving forward in building construction. Being lightweight, flexible and strong, CLT panels are being considered for timber high- rises, replacing steel and concrete used in conventional building.

This year will see sustainability no longer being just an industry buzzword: it has now become anintegral component in the design of everything - commercial, residential or public.

Those that do not have a strategy to ensure what they build and how they build it stays within the parameters of sustainability, are quite literally putting themselves out of business.

As for the real estate sector, well, the only change is that things are set to get worse for those wanting to enter the market.

According to the 14th Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, Sydney has been ranked as the second least affordable city in the world for the third year in a row, scoring a Median Multiple of 12.9 (higher than last year), while the ‘winner’ Hong Kong scored 19.4, with Vancouver in third place with a score of 12.6.

These results also saw Melbourne move up from sixth position to fifth, meaning that combined with other Australian cities, we are now the third most unaffordable housing market in the world.

Insofar as the magazine goes, we are launching our new ‘People’ section and are also later this year, set to push up the number of projects from two up to three per issue. And that is only the start of the changes we will introduce this year.

As they say, the only thing constant is change itself, so welcome to 2018.

Branko Miletic