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What ‘distributed everything’ means for real estate

Be prepared for changes when goods and services are produced closer to home

Distribution is a trend we'd all better get used to. Distributed computing, distributed manufacturing, distributed power generation -- it seems that everything that can be distributed will. It isn't the same old-school put-stuff-in-trucks kind of distribution. Actual productive activities are being distributed. Technologies like 3-D printing distribute the manufacture of goods much closer to the places where they will actually be used. Distributed power generation -- via wind, solar or microturbines -- is producing electricity much closer to where it is actually used. The education industry is in the early stages of becoming a distributed industry as well, with the arrival of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The important aspect of this "distributed everything" trend is, again, that things get made or produced much closer to where they are used. This trend will have wide-ranging impact on many industries, including real estate. Like all trends, it won't be ev...