Homes will become our universe

Some time ago, Orange has launched in Romania, right at EFdeN house, Orange Home for housing through the “You can travel anywhere without leaving home” campaign, which made me wonder a little about how we live in the future. These predictions by Ray Kurzweil (Google’s futurologist) give us a picture of a possible scenario.

I think the time we spend at home in 2030 will be around 80%

This future that we will spend almost all the time in our homes is not one that I like, but I think it is an inevitable future. Today we spend 50% of our time in houses and the rest of the time we spend on:

  • work – will be moved home via VR (Virtual Reality)
  • transport – will be drastically reduced due to the efficiency and decrease of the need of mobility, but will remain for meetings with friends, family or new experiences
  • shopping – will move online, see Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods
  • education – all online, MOOC are the future of education and robots who will do home-schooling are already a reality
  • entertainment –  meaning parks, clubs, pools, restaurants, things you can’t do at home
  • tourism –  we will travel more due to cheaper transportation, that’s the good part

Just as social media has taken over our universe, attention and time, is already considered a dependency, VR (Virtual Reality) will be an even more dangerous trend, to which we will become even more addicted to. We will be able to be the masters of the worlds we can create, and we will not want to get out of this ideal and easy world that we can control.

How will this trend influence how we design, build and live

What we can do in terms of the built environment is to design and build suitable housing for such user behavior, which, in one way or another, will bring communities closer. This means that besides a co-working space, a home should become a friendships space.

At least 2 families, adults + children, must be able to spend time together and this will be translated into larger livingroom+ diningroom + entertainment areas, and the bedrooms surfaces will be reduced to an usable and comfortable minimum.

Larger spaces mean higher costs, and inside cities, this would be very expensive. In big cities, the cost of living is already exorbitant. The consequence of the fact that we no longer have to get out of the house to work is that we no longer need to live inside the city, and that opens up a potential new urbanization stage of the planet. At this moment, half of the planet’s population lives in cities, taking up only 2% of the planet’s dry surface.

Today there are 7.4 billion people on the planet, and by 2030 there will be another 1.2 billion, which means almost double the size of Europe’s population today.

Due to climate change and global warming, a walk to the park will become a walk to the mall, where climatic conditions are optimal. At the mall you have access to almost anything you want, it is a place for all ages and needs, and this behavior can already be noticed. Even if it is sad to imagine a world that is shared between home and mall, it is currently the most likely future.

#FutureHomes: Creating the next generation of homes

In the last 8 years, I have been part of some amazing teams where we designed and built 3 different award-winning homes, but I still have a lot to learn and explore in order to achieve my dream: to create the next generation of homes.

I always tried to imagine the perfect home and after two pre-certified homes and working with Living Building Challenge, BREAM and Green Homes standard, I felt there’s a lot of room for improvment. Today this type of certification only tackles the product, missing anything else.

From my point of view the perfect living / the perfect home should incorporate the following 3 dimensions and this is how I end up creating the CIP Diagram, with more details to follow.

  • THE PRODUCT CALLED HOME
  • HOW DO WE INTERACT WITH OUR HOME (AND OTHERS’)
  • WHAT LIVING MEANS

I. THE PRODUCT CALLED HOME

This is where I have the most experience and where sustainability standards (BREEAM, LEED, WELLBEING INSTITUTE) are doing a great job of getting the bigger picture.

To do: In the next 3 years, I want to design 3 homes in 3 different extreme and harsh environments. I cannot say what is the level of details I am going to achieve and when, but the plan is to go as far as possible and one day to actually build each one of them. In the last edition of Solar Decathlon, I learnt once again that there is so much knowledge across the world in creating homes, related to climate, to culture & heritage, to the economy, lessons we did not yet learn.

3 different homes in 3 very different places

  • one in the extremely hot (let’s say Sahara)
  • one in the extreme cold (let’s say Nord Pole)
  • the last one, most difficult, on Mars (waiting for other smart people to decide the place of the colony).

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