Environmental scanning and futures wheels as tools to analyze the possible future themes of the commercial real estate market | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
March 2016
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

The commercial real estate market is closely linked to the surrounding society, as commercial buildings have several economic, environmental, political, social and cultural influences. Correspondingly, the surrounding society, its actors and the different forces of change appearing in the market environment also have their own influence on the real estate market environment and its future development. However, this connection may be left without the attention it is entitled to and there is a danger that far-reaching decisions concerning commercial real estates will be made without sufficient analysis over possible future development. This paper investigates how the forces of change appearing in the present real estate market environment may affect future commercial real estates and their market environment. The forces of change are identified with an information collection method called environmental scanning known from future studies. After that the possible future influences of the identified forces of change are organized and analyzed with another future studies method called futures wheels. Finally, a holistic synthesis over the mutual future themes of the commercial real estate market is presented: (1) real estate themes: comfort, image, distinctive spaces and elements, technicality, safety and geographical location and transportation connectivity (2) market themes: interaction, demand for services, segregation and need for special knowledge and expertise (3) ideological themes: quality and redefinition of attractiveness, integration of space types, diversified demand and versatility of commercial real estate and owner-occupancy vs. tenancy. The database utilized in the environmental scanning and future wheel processes consists of 400 literary sources and 170 person sources presenting the views of different real estate market actors. Acknowledging the identified future themes is essential when preparing for future development. By being aware, it is possible to carefully study different development paths, their probability, essential factors and above all, the actors’ own possibilities to affect future development.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Toivonen, Saija
Viitanen, Kauko


Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.

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