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Joseph Coughlin          

Founder & Director of AgeLab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joseph Coughlin is the founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. His research provides insights on how demographic change, technology, social trends and consumer behavior will converge to drive future innovations in business and government. Based in MIT’s Engineering Systems Division, Coughlin teaches policy and systems innovation and is author of the online publication Disruptive Demographics. He is one of Fast Company magazine’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of “12 pioneers inventing the future of retirement and how we will all live, work and play tomorrow.” Coughlin is a behavioral sciences fellow of The Gerontological Society of America and a fellow of Switzerland’s World Demographic & Ageing Forum, advising and speaking to businesses, governments and non-profits worldwide. He has served on numerous advisory boards, including those for British Telecom Health, Daimler, Fidelity Investments, Gallup, Healthways, Nissan, Putnam Investments, Sanofi-Aventis and Toyota. He was also appointed by President Bush to the White House Conference on Aging Advisory Committee. Coughlin has worked with governments in Asia and the European Union, the World Economic Forum, OECD and the Council on Foreign Relations on demographic change, technology and strategic advantage. He has been featured on ABC News, BBC, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, NBC’s TODAY and The Dr. Oz Show, as well as in News Asia, The Economist, Financial Times, The Straits Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other media outlets throughout the world.

Speech Topics

If Demography is Destiny, What Is the Future of Real Estate?

Demography is destiny. Unlike economic and technology forecasting that are most often based upon selected and changeable assumptions, demographics are based upon the people that are already here. Demographic transition, evolving lifestyles as well as related technology trends are rapidly changing. These trends are likely to have a transformative impact on real estate touching residential and commercial property as well as fuel the growth of specialized emerging developments.

Among these factors are the aging of the population, high divorce rates, smaller household composition, a three- or even four-generation workplace and the drastic reduction of fertility rates across the nation. This new demographic reality combined with the emergence of the sharing economy—a world where you can have it all, but own none of it—is changing our ideas about the future of community, home, retail and work. This engaging and entertaining presentation will explore the disruptive demographics of tomorrow and weave a story of how demography, along with next-gen technologies, will shape the future of communities, where we choose to live and housing.

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