A strong advocate for commercial real estate technology and innovation, JLL has joined forces with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create a comprehensive commercial real estate database for the city of New York. As Founding Industry Partner of the MIT Center for Real Estate’s newly established Real Estate Innovation Lab (REIL), JLL wants to help determine the future of communities and cities by identifying innovations in design and technology.

“This synergistic partnership brings together two leading real estate organizations that share a passion for innovation,” said Ben Breslau, JLL’s Managing Director of Research. “We look forward to engaging with the brilliant minds at MIT to support future research and collaborate to create a better future.”

Founded in 1983, MIT Center for Real Estate investigates the real estate transaction from initial concept to market reality, providing knowledge to help practitioners build responsibly and profitably. It offers a one-year MS degree in real estate development, as well as professional development courses.

The REIL is among the first academic labs to bring together experts in advanced methodologies in statistics, computational architecture, economics and urban design to survey the full commercial real estate landscape. The lab will explore innovations in building design; new processes in construction; and new data technologies with the potential to transform the organization of cities and the built environment.

“Our goal is to understand what is happening at the frontier of the built environment today, produce statistical and empirical evidence of approaches that work and communicate those innovations for widespread use,” said Andrea Chegut, REIL Director and research scientist. “We are thrilled to have an innovative industry leader like JLL partner with us and help us connect research to practical applications in the field.”

Architects and designers can introduce novel ideas from 3-D printed buildings to indoor vertical food farms, but to develop these projects, they have to make the case to the investors that will fund them. However, explained Chegut, new technologies and systems may not have diffused through the market enough to offer sufficient assurance to investors. “If you are going to get meaningful projects off the ground, you must have the financial stakeholders on board,” she added. “We hope to contribute analysis and evidence that helps innovators and investors come together.”

The lab’s flagship project is to create a massive commercial real estate database for the city of New York. The database will go beyond rents, transaction prices, building mortgages and vacant space to include Airbnb locations, co-working spaces, cell towers, fiber optic cables, subway lines and more. Combined, the extensive data will offer a way to view the city with distinct and unique perspectives. The lab is also exploring how changes in the built environment over time help create an atmosphere for innovation. By examining successful innovation districts in a number of cities around the world, the lab will identify the benefits in terms of jobs and development, as well as informing urban design.