Introducing A New Space RaceNo rivals, no rockets, no thrill-seeking billionaires – this is a race for earth’s space, set in our physical and digital infrastructure, the spaces where we work, live and move. This is a race against time - a race we can only win by working together.
A new space race has begun.
It is a race to transform the world; to meet the great challenges of our times.
We call it a ‘race’ because it is increasingly urgent. Think about how crucial it is to deliver fast responses to the hallmark trends influencing our world:
The pandemic sparked an urgent race to adapt – a race to get ahead of the spread, to keep people safe, to keep services and businesses running, and now, to build new models for the future.
Digitalization is a race into new frontiers. Organizations that lead on data and new technologies gain profitability and market share while also advancing towards shared social and environmental goals.
Climate change is a race against time. It is a marathon over decades that requires us to set - and keep up with - the pace of an energy revolution.
These races are changing the spaces around us, transforming the infrastructure that supports the way people work, live and move.
But the most dramatic changes – and the biggest challenges – are immediately ahead of us.
What is the New Space Race?
This thought leadership study reveals how infrastructure stakeholders view the immediate and longer-term future of our built environment and energy systems. Discover fresh perspectives on how our infrastructure will be reshaped by the global pandemic, a new era of digitalization and the urgent need to decarbonize.
A race to transform across three spaces
This thought leadership study is about this unusual race – a new space race, with three dimensions, that we can all win only by working together.
There is no finish line in the new space race, but there is a way to win.
Winning means growing more adaptable and resilient to shocks, tragedies and changes – like those we are living through today – and by ensuring we move quickly enough to shift the earth clear of the catastrophic climate scenarios we face.
Infrastructure stakeholders are moving forward. They are racing to adapt their assets across three dimensions – what we call ‘spaces’ – that echo the trends we touched on above:
- A New Physical Space Race – The changing needs and expectations of people in their buildings, factories, facilities, offices, homes, and surrounding infrastructure.
- A New Digital Space Race - The evolution of the operational backbone of physical spaces, driven by advances in AI, automation, energy technologies, connectivity, and data-driven predictions.
- A New Earth Space Race - The impact of physical and digital space on the planet as a whole, including a revolution in energy systems that will create a sustainable legacy for future generations.
These spaces are connected, overlapping and interdependent. We will look at each in depth, but we will also show how they are linked in a single, transformational race. We will explore the routes, the mountains to climb, the hazards to avoid, and what it will take to stay ahead.
Our highest goals are possible if we harness the power of data and new technologies, welcome greater cooperation and keep driving innovation. Together we can win the new space race.Matthias Rebellius, CEO, Siemens Smart Infrastructure
We would like to extend a special thank you to the diverse set of industry leaders and experts who shared their ideas and insights with us as part of this study.
- Ali Alsuwaidi, vice-president of the Middle East Facilities Management Association
- Wayne Butcher, director at Grant Thornton UK LLP
- Ewan Jones, Partner at Grimshaw
- Jeremy Kelly, Research Director at JLL
- Kerstin Sailer, Co-Founder of Brainybirdz and Professor in the Sociology of Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
- Maia Small, Manager, policies and strategies at San Francisco Planning
- Steven Velegrinis, Head of Masterplanning at AECOM
- Christian Waglechner, senior development manager at CA Immobilien Anlagen AG (CA Immo)
- Michael Webber, Josey Centennial Professor in energy resources, mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and former chief science and technology officer at ENGIE
- Xiaohu Tao, Vice President, Business Innovation and Digital, in Energy Networks at E.ON
This thought leadership study is based on a survey, in-depth interviews and desk research. It is not an academic or scientific research paper. Our goal is not to provide any final answers, but rather to start conversations, stimulate thought, and encourage infrastructure stakeholders to reflect on what today’s megatrends mean for the future of our energy system and built environment.
The survey included 501 respondents from 10 countries. The countries involved include those large-scale and/or highly advanced infrastructure assets and ambitions. It was fielded in June and July 2021.