In anticipation of a transformative year, the capacity to discover new things and form new insights is upon us. At EDSA, we are encouraged by recent research and global predictions that credit future investments in health, green infrastructure and education as a means to help countries achieve productive, inclusive and sustainable growth. Here’s what has us thinking…
The ‘scaled agility’ of public spaces realigns infrastructure where streets and parking lots are recalibrated to accommodate outdoor food markets, dining and children’s play areas. With designers increasingly being called upon to offer solutions like comfort and protection, accessibility, materiality and elements are being reimagined. Pivoting walls, movable furniture and street activation are all ways to increase viewsheds, work within looser boundaries and establish a vernacular that strengthens frayed community bonds – be it through parks, gardens, promenades or entire streets turned over to pedestrians.
Social justice movements, rapid pharmaceutical responses to COVID-19 and the rise of flexible work schedules have challenged deeply rooted social norms. In the reconfiguring of emotions and ideals, individuals are taking an introspective look at their personal beliefs and how they plan to approach the future. In response, an emphasis on corporate responsibility, diversity, equity and inclusion, and localism are functionally essential for public spaces, communities and businesses to thrive.
Up to 80% of health outcomes are dependent upon our ecosystem – bringing a heightened awareness to the co-dependency between nature and humanity. With wellness real estate emerging as a highly promising niche, investment in resilient design can serve as an insurance policy for human well-being. Relying on environmental conditions such as airflow, natural light and scenic quality, we expect new metrics to capture Return on Wellness (ROW) and a deeper exploration of the relationships between physical communities, individual health and the overall wellness of our planet.
The pandemic nudged us to consider how we can build greater resilience into our food system by reducing the miles involved in ‘farm to fork’. This presents an opportunity to accelerate the growth of regenerative agriculture, as we continue to understand the links between food production, global population and climate change. Locally cultivated and regionally distributed food production will require adjustments to land allocation for multiple-use farming alternatives.
Uncertainty has confined us to well-known spaces and places, leaving our itch for adventure on the backburner. However, our need for exploration has been welcomingly replaced by regionalized road trips as alternatives to the ‘jet-setter’ lifestyle. In the new year, the hospitality industry will see an uptick in revenue generated by drive-to destinations that feature large, open spaces and exclusive areas for small groups to dine, experience the outdoors and enjoy amenities. Privacy is fast becoming the new luxury, and hospitality businesses will need to adjust their economies of scale to better serve smaller audiences rather than relying on heavy guest traffic.
In the broader sense, the most significant trend in 2021 will be the ability for everyone to embrace the unknown and be more agile and accommodating. As designers, we have the intelligence, skills and ability to thrive as we seek to provide better places for everyone.