We believe the answer is, yes. If New York City all of a sudden knew how it was used, it would identify its inefficiencies and redesign itself. An entire city reliably knowing how it was used would unlock a world of new possibilities.
Whatever is true for New York would be true for San Francisco and Denver and Boston. It would be true for Toronto and Paris. For Berlin and Tokyo. For Cape Town, Delhi, Mexico City, Mumbai. Whatever is true for one major city would be true for every other city in the world. How have we gotten this far without knowing how all this space is used?
The fundamental problem here is not just technology. Building an autonomous system that can make sense of the remarkable complexity of human behavior in buildings is fascinating and very hard — particularly when you value preserving a visitors’ reasonable expectation of privacy — but this city-scale question is not just a technology problem. It’s a distribution problem.
How do you get an intelligent system that understands human behavior into every relevant room in the world? Whichever team can answer that question, earns the right to help remake it.
Historically, we have designed and used buildings based on observation, trends, surveys, and precedent. Buildings are the most valuable assets in the world whose performance we do not measure. And yet their construction and maintenance come at extraordinary cost. Buildings account for 39% of global CO2 emissions. 4.4 billion sqft of U.S. office space is vacant but paid for (pre-pandemic). And how we currently use all this space results in wasted time, bad design, inefficient energy use, underutilization, and incalculable opportunity cost.
We need better tools of measurement because measurement will lead to improvement.
- We need the ability to navigate 10 million sqft of space as easily as you pinch-to-zoom.
- To replay how people use space without invading their privacy.
- To see if a space is available in real-time.
- To compare the performance of a room or neighborhood or floor or building.
- To find successful spaces, identify productive behaviors, and see where there is collision, lingering, or focus.
- We need the ability to A/B test physical space.
We used to want these things. We need them.
Our mission is to measure and improve our footprint on the world. At present, we focus on the workplaces of some of the largest companies in the world – spanning 32 countries with more than 1.25 billion sqft under management. We do this because we can have an immediate and outsized impact at enormous scale but over the next decade our goal is to help reshape cities.
We’re proud to announce a $125 million round led by Kleiner Perkins and the acquisition of HELIX RE. The round values Density at $1.05 billion. With these investments, we plan to build the requisite tools above and solve the distribution problem.
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