Silicon Valley to revolutionize real estate?

by 29 Jun 2016
by Joe Rosengarten

A Silicon Valley tech start-up investment firm and accelerator is attempting to revolutionize the U.S. real estate and construction industries. Y Combinator, which helped build Airbnb, Dropbox and Instacart, wants to build cities in which the code of laws can fit on 100 pages and housing expenses are reduced by 90 percent.

“We want to study building new, better cities,” the project’s director, Adora Cheung, blogged earlier this week.  “The world is full of people who aren’t realizing their potential in large part because their cities don't provide the opportunities and living conditions necessary for success. A high leverage way to improve our world is to unleash this massive potential by making better cities.”

The organization’s research division is planning to request proposals for research into autonomous vehicles, sustainable power sources and revolutionary construction methods. When the research is done and the data is collected, Y Combinator wants to build a prototype city. “We’ll publicly share our results, and at the end of the process, we’ll decide if it’s something we should pursue and at what exact locations,” Cheung wrote. “We’re seriously interested in building new cities and we think we know how to finance it if everything else makes sense.”

But despite Y Combinator’s ambitious plans, Realtors and mortgage brokers shouldn’t be quaking in their boots just yet. The start-up aims to begin hiring researchers at some point this year and is currently considering possible locations for the contentious project. It’s expected that any potential tech inspired city would be years in the making.