The Future of Living: Four ways we can expect housing to evolve in the near future

By John Badman, principal at CallisonRTKL

Residential spaces are increasingly wearing more than one hat. The typology is expanding, blending, and redefining itself alongside our changing habits. As our homes transform, they will become a smarter, healthier, and more impactful partner to us, helping enrich and improve the many shifting variables of our lives.

Health and Wellness

In 2023, the digital connectivity and capacities of our home spaces will continue to expand. The Home of Things will continue to consider how our homes can be embedded with sensors, processing abilities, software and other technologies that connect and exchange data with devices and systems. These changes will make work, errands and chores, time with friends, and health and wellness more accessible than ever, while collecting important biometric data. The goal of this digital shift is to make us healthier, happier, and more connected, while providing us with the data and flexibility we need to make the right choices about how we want to live.

The Home of Things is incorporated in the prototype for the digital-first medical home, which gives people the opportunity to connect with medical professionals in the comfort of their own home. As Teladoc becomes more popular and desired we may begin seeing a suite of services offered right in our residences, such as in-house practitioners, with on-staff counselors and doctors available to tenants with medical needs. In public spaces, bots will assist residential staff with disinfecting and general cleaning, increasing safety for all. These evolutions are reflected in projections for the smart home market, as the industry is expected to nearly quadruple over the next five years, from a 2021 valuation of $79.13 billion to $313.95 billion by 2027. In this way, we can expect continuous improvements in security, comfort, and connectivity.

Subscription Living

The global subscription e-commerce market size is expected to increase from $120.04 billion in 2022 to $904.2 billion by 2026. With online sales and package deliveries steadily rising, many city centers have turned to street-navigating robots to meet these needs. In the future, we could see specific corridors designed for bots to navigate our buildings independently. In addition to thinking about how our buildings can support delivery on the ground, we also need to consider the sky. Residential design should evaluate whether structures should incorporate landing docks and specialised mailrooms for deliveries. These additions will help to ease the stress put on the curb, which has become a cluttered space overburdened by deliveries, parking, and drop-offs, while meeting resident expectations about package safety and storage. Some luxury buildings offer a glimpse into a future that prioritises and rethinks deliveries by envisioning mailrooms as gathering spaces for neighbors to connect.

The Need for ESG

A company’s purpose and mission play a large role in where consumers want to spend their time and money. ESG metrics are increasingly a standard for residents and investors. According to Deloitte, the real estate industry must create opportunities through social impact investing, such as multi-tenant shared spaces and the transformation of underutilised buildings into thriving social venues. A sustainable real estate market goes beyond the energy-efficiency of a finished building to include low-carbon construction processes. In short, ESG is on its way to becoming the standard way of investing, with the Federal Reserve including climate change in their list of financial stability risks in November 2020’s Financial Stability Report.

Housing for All

Providing housing to all is a critical issue, and we’re seeing adjacent industries outside of housing step in to get involved, such as the medical sphere. Recognising that unhoused patients are more likely to have a shorter life span, stay in a hospital longer, more likely to return, and have higher emergency room costs than the average patient, hospitals are investing in impact investment funds as well as buying and operating their own housing alternatives.

These projections for the future of housing point toward two trends: a desire for ease and seamlessness in our daily lives, and social responsibility. It’s long been known that consumers have higher expectations from brands, who are no longer simply selling products, but must take a stand against the environmental and social challenges of our time. It makes sense that these expectations, which have already impacted how people travel, would influence where and how people want to live.

In order to attract tenants, residential design must take into consideration how people are cared for and connected on site, while taking action to improve and protect the health of local communities.