Building the Cities of the Future
How to use human-centered design to build denser, more communal cities
Driven by rapid population growth, technological advancement, and ecological uncertainty, the need for sustainability in cities has created an opportunity for designers to pause and consider what life will look like in the next 20, 50, and 100 years. It is a moment that will define not only what future cities will look like, but also what they feel like.
Designing density in cities is high on the agenda of urban designers and city planners. With 55% of the world’s population living in cities, and that number predicted to rise to around 68% in the coming decades, we need to design more compact living environments.
Rapid organic growth and zoning have resulted in the sprawl of urban areas. Low- to mid-rise buildings spread farther and farther away from city centers, requiring complex transport infrastructures to keep everyone and everything connected. To prepare for both population growth and climate change, densification will be key. Multifunctional buildings that enable tenants to work, live, and thrive within one building or area are the ideal starting point for more compact living.
We need to ensure that multifunctional buildings can accommodate life’s inherent messiness and the turbulent nature of humanity.
Density in cities creates opportunities for walkability, cheaper and better transport options, more efficient energy use, and more flexible living environments such as co-living and co-working spaces. Multifunctional buildings create compact living space for city dwellers. The line between our living and working spaces becomes blurred as everything and everyone comes a little bit closer together.
When presented with images of density, designers will often show us a gentrified view of the world, where living closer together seems cozy, friendly, and unimaginably clean. We see smiling neighbors grouped together in beautiful communal spaces, coffee in hand, while their…