Future Urban Homes

Future Urban Homes

Designing for the 2050 population

By 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities. Because of the influx of people in city living, a greater focus on designing for an urban population is necessary to maintain a good standard of living. Emerging demographic and social changes, combined with a push toward more sustainable living and rapid advancements in technology all inspired the focus of exploring the role of design in the future of urban living.

To explore this topic, research was conducted into current and future trends in demographics, sustainability and technology by reading trend forecasting websites and consulting expert opinion. To analyse the research a timeline of events was created to see how they interact with each other. From the timeline, some events were highlighted that could have a profound effect on the role of design in the future. Some events include the possibility of the retirement age extending to seventy years, oil demand outpacing supply, global food and water crises, and human-like A.I. becoming reality.

These researched predictions were used to form a picture of what urban living may look like in 2050. These ideas fall into three categories: the structure of the home, the products in the home, and the people who inhabit them. In the future, flexible and modular living spaces will allow for a more efficient use of space and accommodate a growing population. Alison Brooks of Alison Brook Architects (ABA), believes it is a designer’s “duty to improve the quality of life for urban dwellers, beginning with housing.” Buildings can also be designed to collect rainwater or incorporate indoor gardens to help supplement food supplies. Intelligent products that are interactive and responsive to your actions can enable humans to overcome future environmental and social obstacles.

The implementation of 3D printers in the home environment will transform shopping experiences into completely instantaneous and customised experiences. People who inhabit homes of the future will be more virtually connected with the world around them and may include holographic capabilities realistic enough to enable real time interaction with others. From trend research and consulting with experts it is apparent that design’s role is always increasing.

It will be necessary for designers in the future to be more holistic innovators of life because the boundary between humans and products will ‘blur’. Zaha Hadid, of Zaha Hadid Architects, believes that we are “restructuring away from an industrial mass society towards a society with much greater degrees of complexity and dynamism in people’s lives”. Therefore, a holistic design approach is vital to handling future cultural complexity to maintain a sustainable and high standard quality of life.