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Now for the online construction boom

October 31, 2007 8:00 by

online communities, Dubai

Back in 2003, coined the term nethoods to describe an emerging trend: “neighborhoods, streets and even apartment buildings are starting to get their own internet and intranet sites: not just to promote the many qualities they have to offer their (prospective) inhabitants, but also to provide communal interaction and localized services.”

A recent example of this trend is LifeAt in the US. Launched in March 2007, LifeAt offers property managers a turnkey solution for launching a nethood for their building. So far, over 335 buildings have joined. The property websites are private and password protected, for use by residents only. Besides offering a platform where residents can meet and communicate, sites also allow users to post classified ads and rate and review local businesses. In addition, property managers post news about vacancies and maintenance work.

The concept is a natural for cluster-mad corporate Dubai (Media City, Jebel Ali FZ, DIFC) and not a bad option for the residential developments (Marina, Emaar Living, Business Bay). LifeAt has its origins in real estate - the creators noticed huge numbers of arrivals into New York City felt rootless, and that buyers/renters wanted a community, not just an apartment. There is a $6,000 development cost (could this be picked up by the project developer?), but it is free for users. LifeAt manages advertising.

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