Anyone who steps into the elevator of an average US high-rise building will notice a curious absence: the thirteenth floor.
Ever since vertical transportation revolutionized building design and innovation in the early twentieth century, the entire real estate, construction, and architecture industry has been nettled by the persistent but often unconscious fear of the number 13, also known as triskaidekaphobia.
For example, a study from Otis Elevators, a US-based vertical transportation company, estimates that 85% of its elevators don’t include thirteenth-floor buttons.1 This superstition plays out in real estate values, as well. According to a study from Realting.com, thirteenth floor apartments are typically bought 18% less often than those on other floors.2
While the historical roots of triskaidekaphobia are murky, data suggest that this fear is largely cultural. Many civilizations, both past and present, actually see the number as fortuitous.
In the case of this new issue of Summit Journal (#13), we’re splitting the difference.
That’s because this issue appears at a transitional time in our industry—and, more broadly, a period of deep change across cultures, economies, and environments. This change isn’t inherently positive or negative; it’s something that simply happens. And how we respond—as investors, leaders, and global citizens—is ultimately what determines the quality of the change we’re confronting.
It’s therefore not a surprise that, for this issue, we’ve had several authors considering the same sorts of questions and trends—notably, re climate change and America’s evolving demography—all arrived at independently; unprompted from our own editorial calls for articles and ideas. As global investors and asset managers, we’re all ultimately facing the same questions, confronting the same conscious and unconscious fears, and working collectively to find answers to the universal challenges presented by epochal change.
The voice of our editorial board for this issue (which you’ll find as peer review comments at the end of several articles) offers both amplification and correction of several of these ideas, underscoring what it means, in practice (and as an extension of AFIRE’s key mission, to help each other become better investors, leaders, and global citizens), to split the difference between fate and fortuity.
Welcome to thirteen.
– Benjamin van Loon, Editor-in-Chief, Summit Journal
1. Diana Ionescu, “Missing 13th Floor: How Ancient Fears Influence Modern Architecture.” Planetizen. Accessed 29 August 2023. planetizen.com/blogs/120954-missing-13th-floor-how-ancient-fears-influence-modern-architecture
2. “The Power of Superstitions: How Number 13 Deters Apartment Buyers.” Realting. Accessed 29 August 2023. realting.com/news/the-power-of-superstitions-how-number-13-deters-apartment-bu
IN THIS ISSUE
Benjamin van Loon | AFIRE
Dr Alexis Crow | PwC + Byron Carlock
Ron Bekkerman | Cherre + Donal Ward | Tenney 101
Jacques Gordon, PhD | MIT
Michael Ferrari, PhD and Parag Khanna, PhD | Climate Alpha
Bob Geiger | Partner Engineering & Science
Zhengzheng Tan, Alice Guo, and Naveem Arunachalam | MIT
Josh Benaim | Aria
Robert Kilroy, CFA | The Dermot Company + Will McIntosh, PhD | Affinius Capital
Peter Grey-Wolf | Wealthcap + David Theodore | McGill University
SENIOR HOUSING UPDATE: EMERGING OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH DEMOGRAPHIC TAILWINDS AND DIMINISHING SUPPLY OUTLOOK
Robb Chapin, Jack Robinson, Andrew Ahmadi, and Morgan Zollinger | Bridge Investment Group
SENIOR HOUSING UPDATE: UNPRECEDENTED DEMOGRAPHIC ACCELERATION MAY DRIVE STRONG OPERATING FUNDAMENTALS AMID ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN
Tom Errath | Harrison Street
Charlie Smith | Newmark
Christopher Muoio and Katie Cappola | Madison International Realty
Elchanan Rosenheim and Tali Hadari | Profimex
CAMPAIGN MESSAGING: CFIUS, AFIDA, AND EXPANDING FEDERAL AND STATE RESTRICTIONS ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN US REAL ESTATE
Caren Street, John Thoms, and Anya Ram | Squire Patton Boggs
THIS ISSUE OF SUMMIT JOURNAL IS PROUDLY UNDERWRITTEN BY
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