Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2010 (Revised November 2013)

Living PlanIT

by Robert G. Eccles, Amy C. Edmondson, Susan Thyne and Tiona Zuzul


Living PlanIT is a start-up company that has developed a new, innovative business model for sustainable urbanization. This model reflects the software and technology backgrounds of its founders, Steve Lewis and Malcolm Hutchinson, and is in vivid contrast to other models for green or smart cities that are variations on a massive real estate development project. The main economic engine driving Living PlanIT's model is a partner channel strategy adopted from the high technology industry. The case shows how the Living PlanIT business model has evolved from the original vision of Lewis and Hutchinson to radically transform the construction industry to a go-to-market partnership model using the real estate as a "showroom" for evolving sustainable urban technology—a $3 trillion global market over the next 20 years. Living PlanIT is developing its first project, a new city called PlanIT Valley, outside of Porto, Portugal. The company has clarified its vision and is moving into the implementation phase, which involves fundraising, signing up channel partners, and negotiating various issues with the Portuguese government for its pilot project. Success in PlanIT Valley will translate into a strong market position as global population and demand for new cities increases, particularly in developing countries such as China and India.

Keywords: Business Model; Business Startups; Development Economics; Entrepreneurship; City; Technological Innovation; Environmental Sustainability; Urban Development; Construction Industry; Green Technology Industry; Real Estate Industry; Portugal;


Eccles, Robert G., Amy C. Edmondson, Susan Thyne, and Tiona Zuzul. "Living PlanIT." Harvard Business School Case 410-081, February 2010. (Revised November 2013.)