The world has proven to be a surprisingly fast-paced, ever-shifting environment. For the first time in history, Americans are spending more money at restaurants than at grocery stores. A growing number of travelers are using private accommodation services and leaving high-end resorts in the past. Rideshare services have become mainstream modes of public transportation. And, online purchases have jumped from 22% to 80% in just six years, contributing to the mall apocalypse. With new trends morphing every day, we’ve shortlisted a few that are significantly influencing our profession, the design industry and human experience.
As governments begin to enforce safer, more sustainable land use and infrastructure, designing for climate change has rapidly moved from discretionary to imperative. At macro levels, damaged ecologies and economies are forcing a new wave of climate migration refugees. On micro levels, site specific responses are needed to address increasing temperatures and flash storm events. Among allied professionals, the fusing of science and design is necessary to combat these challenges.
As “foodie culture” continues to rise, so too do urban green markets, which have increased by 400% since the new millennium, as well as food co-ops with their 1.3 million members. These “pop-up” environments are linking city dwellers to organic farming and healthier living at unprecedented rates – opening doors for new platforms such as greenhouses and communal chicken coups.
The rise of live/work/play environments is no longer limited to urban hubs. Growth of second-tier and emerging cities affords investors and developers a greater return on their dollars and with greater profit margins in place, they can explore consumer preferences for lower-density buildings, greater land allocation to green space and more community-centric design. Designers involved in envisioning this new “hipsturbia” must find the delicate balance between metropolitan conveniences, connectivity and suburban space splendor.
THE CO-WORKING PHENOMENON
High-design hotels are capitalizing on the growing co-working phenomenon by tapping into the public’s need for dynamic spaces for work, study and socialization. Increasingly set within hospitality environments, digital nomads are drawn to a new generation of meeting spaces and quality amenities, generating profitable revenue streams and nurturing freelance communities.
Self-driving cars, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and 3D printing – computers are shaping the way we live. Technology has become so pervasive in contemporary living that it is practically inescapable. Planning and design alternatives are creating a nexus for people, services, devices and experiences with consideration for high-speed communications, wireless networking, data bandwidth and built-in connectivity in the early conceptual design phase.
Time marches on for the 65 and older population and the design ramifications are numerous. As they have throughout their lifetimes, this generational group has far-reaching influence on housing alternatives, accessibility to services and public transit giving rise to residential offerings within proximity to commercial districts. Cross-generational design is providing a ‘second act’ for many retirees, strengthening the neighborhood fabric further with committed, local constituents.
Looked at individually, each trend has the potential to drive a substantial change for both people and the environment. We see a direct correlation between each component and consider them fuel for forward momentum. It is the nature of our work to not only be aware of fluctuating influences and trends, but weave them into the fabric of our firm-wide approach and methodology. For more information, contact us at [email protected].