Ask people what wellness real estate means and you get a variety of misinformed answers, due to misperceptions about what wellness itself actually entails. Wellness is more than simply a physical construct. True wellness incorporates physical wellness, yes, but also mental wellness, environmental wellness, social wellness and access to nature, the latter of which plays a part in all the other aspects of wellness.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, wellness is having its moment. Perhaps for the first time, people have paused and reflected how the environment around them, whether built by man or Mother Nature, impacts their feelings of well-being.
|Real estate should reflect nature|
At the same time, scientists are sounding the alarm about how our environment, both outdoor and indoor, impacts our overall health. According to the World Health Organization, “Whether people are healthy or not is determined by their circumstances and environment. To a large extent, factors such as where we live, the state of our environment, genetics, our income and education level, and our relationships with friends and family all have considerable impacts on health.”
The real estate industry is taking note of both the science and the wellness awakening that has evolved during the COVID era. In the past, when the term “wellness real estate” was bandied about (if it was bandied about at all), it usually referred to the building of a spa, a fitness center, or maybe even a healthcare facility. But now, developers in almost every key sector of the real estate business, including hospitality, residential, retail or commercial, are paying heed to how health and wellness ingredients can be baked into a project.
While those ingredients may vary depending upon the type of developments, among the ones that should be considered universal are:
Access to Nature
Energy-Efficient Lighting/Light Sensors
Indoor and Outdoor Green Spaces
Indoor and Outdoor Water Elements
Natural/Non-Toxic Building Materials
Preservation of Green Spaces
Sustainability (including energy-saving technologies)
Third Spaces for Social Interaction
Use of Natural Light
Ventilation/Air Filtration Systems
Water Filtration Systems
All of these ingredients contribute to wellness, in at least one of its forms. And while, in the past, some of these elements were overlooked or omitted due to budgetary concerns, given the interest in wellness, today, most are no longer optional.