Six Top Themes Driving the Future of Home + Living
Ranging from super-connectivity and sharing economies to uber-employment and sustainable landscapes, these increasingly popular themes detailed in the Future of Home + Living report will define how we live, work & play by 2030
What will life look like in a decade? Whether to distract yourself from the burden of 2020's weighty uncertainties or to grasp a bigger picture built on trends that took root before the pandemic, this article invites you to a consideration of the year 2030. It is based on the Future of Home + Living report, a forecast examining weak signals across industries today to identify key trends transforming our modes of living and doing business. These emerging drivers of change include such themes as displacement of ownership and residence, the repurposing of space, especially in cities, and the single life as a permanent state—all of which form the foundation for the 2030 future forecast. Here, we share six of these key themes to know now for a look at tomorrow.
Sustainable Landscapes — Cities and municipalities will look to preserve their unique character by updating zoning laws and providing financial incentives to developers who choose to update existing buildings and structures rather than bulldozing and starting anew. Take Framlab, an agency working to curb Brooklyn's food deserts with modular, vertical farms that can easily be slotted into existing urban infrastructure. Modular technology infrastructure and wireless capabilities will also enable cost-effective connectivity and greater efficiencies.
Single State (of Mind) — As people seek greater flexibility in where and how they work and live, the notion of being single will evolve from being seen as a ‘life stage’ to a ‘life choice.’ Sharing platforms and accessibility to a host of pay-as-you go services will make single lifestyles not only economically viable, but also infinitely portable as people choose to move from within and between cities—like the Californian PodShare co-living community, where LA and San Francisco residents can rent a one-person pod to access a bunk, locker, Wi-Fi and other necessities.
Super-Connectivity — Today, the expectation is that super-fast connectivity will help people live and work anywhere—but what will likely happen is that people will tend to live near urban centers. Instead of a workforce dispersing across countries and into rural regions, super connectivity like 6G will lead to the development of a range of support services that can only be optimized when a critical mass of users and suppliers is present. This means that for most people, leading a modern life with a full suite of services—think Hello Alfred—will mean living in a city or very large town.
Super-Connectivity will also lead to the redevelopment of ‘dead-spaces’ in urban environments. When communications, energy and utilities can either be delivered or beamed in, forgotten sections of cities—big and small— will be converted into productive areas. Such a project is already underway: Check out Excrescent Utopia, an architectural concept that explores the possibility of city dwellers creating living spaces on the literal edges of their environment (including lamp posts).
Uber-Employment — By 2030, most people you know will probably not have a full-time job. Instead, they will have multiple physical and intellectual micro-jobs. There will be less and less of a pattern to the types of work someone does each week, or even each day—and instead these ‘uber-employees’ will be hired based on predictive modeling of demands for a corporation’s staffing needs. Research shows that the gig economy has grown 15% over the past decade, and is only projected to continue its expansion.
Shared Economy — This shift encompasses both residential and ownership displacement. As owners of homes realize that they can make more money from shared-economy services, there will be a transition. Traditional residences will be taken off the rental market and the owners will maximize their returns through short-term rentals for out-of-towners and other experiences—private dining, social clubs, workshopping or events.
Similarly, as items are more easily shareable and able to accommodate multiple users and use cases, owning things will become less economically viable. In China, Blue Heart is a standalone shared life space where the Chengdu community is invited to use its recreation, cooking and package delivery facilities, while in Japan, people are already renting cars for nap sessions.
Growing Health & Privacy Concerns — The 2020 pandemic, increased pollution and spread of surveillance technology have forced people to weigh decisions around where and how they choose to live. Residents must now really consider their comfort levels with ideas like proximity, community and shared/public access. Everything from entire cities to homes, offices and transportation options is being rethought in light of these real and perceived threats. Pew research has found that younger Americans in particular are on the move, and that many of them chose to leave specifically because of the coronavirus.
And this is just the beginning—for more about how we'll live, work and play in 2030, including scenarios for how these six drivers will manifest in a decade as well as implications for business across industry verticals, check out the Future of Home + Living report here!