By 2050, an estimated 70 percent of the global population will live in urban areas. Accommodating such rapid, dense population growth will require changes in lifestyle and design, some of which are already making their way into urban planning and multifamily. Here are six design trends we can expect to see more and more of in cities in the coming decade:
Essentially dorm life extended into adulthood, the sharing economy is expected to reshape multifamily housing to include more buildings where tenants rent a bedroom and bathroom suite, but share spaces like kitchens and recreational facilities. It might sound unappealing to live in what we generally consider student housing later in life, but more shared space means lower rents, lower utility costs, more space for each individual to use overall, and psychological benefits of social interaction often lost in single-occupancy apartments. Millennials are more willing spaces than Baby Boomers were, and with younger people living with roommates and shared vehicles much later in life, this multifamily design trend will likely follow.
Dining Meets the Living Room
Already growing in popularity thanks to trends like the pot luck dinner, homes large enough to host guests will likely commonly double as a home and restaurant hybrid. Those with the space and desire to cook for many will more often open their homes to the public for a “home restaurant” setting, according to predictions.
Offices that Look Like the Library
Open office plans are taking down cubicles. Many companies are redesigning offices to accommodate communal furniture like couches and coffee tables in place of secluded spaces. More conference rooms resemble lounges and the work environment is slowly being transformed to look more like a community center or library than a traditional work environment. This layout is conducive to productive communication and focus-oriented tasks. Additionally, it makes the office more flexible to accommodate growth in staff and higher numbers of teleworking employees who only spend the occasional day in the office.
Big Box Stores Will Stay, But There Will Be No Need to Go
Suburban stores like Target and Wal-Mart are now less scarce in big cities, but that does not mean there is any reason to go. Thanks to smart appliances that will one day do the ordering for us as well as online grocers and delivery services like Amazon, weekend errands will mean hopping from one website to another instead of from store-to-store. Particularly in dense cities, this trend is beneficial in order to maximize limited space by only ordering what is needed at the time and it eliminates needing to carry heavy groceries on a long walk or train ride.
With heightened understanding of how everything, including buildings, impacts our health, more health care has made its way into retail. From walk-in health clinics to niche fitness centers to sustainable products for the home, retail for a healthy lifestyle will dominate more storefronts in dense neighborhoods then ever before.
As car-centric suburban communities continue to grow slower than big cities, the transportation infrastructure many cities currently lack will begin to pick up the pace. This doesn’t just mean new trains, but interconnected multi-modal transit options. From simple solutions like timing traffic lights to implementing new lines of bus rapid transit, cities will need to begin design better ways for people to get around as they continue to attract newcomers. It’s predicted that vehicles that seems futuristic now—like the Tesla or smart scooter—will become far more typical in the next few years.