How will the cities of the future look like?
Co-living spaces, shared mobility and self-driving vehicles
The future of our society is urban. Public forecasts predict that urban population is going to treble in Africa and almost double in Asia over the next four decades, with over 50% of the land projected to become urban by 2030.
New housing options
Housing, transportation and overall urbanization need to be rethought to be environmentally sustainable and at the same time absorb the needs of increasingly hyper populated megapolis.
After the boom of co-working spaces, the next step is co-living, a solution that is starting to be widely spread in New York and increasing growing in London, with a range of affordable options that offer much more than a space to live, but rather a whole sustainable experience, with a better work-life balance and more relations-centered live, something extremely valuable in big metropolis where isolation can be difficult to overcome.
It’s the case of the organization Welive, which years ago pioneered the offer of co-working spaces in the US and UK.
Another interesting initiative is Tribe, an ‘interest-based’ coliving space and app that focuses on the social aspect of co-living, allowing you to find your ‘tribe’ to share the living space with while making new friends. It adapts the ‘Tinder concept’ to the housing sector.
Ollie, presented as a community, also offers curated design packages to decorate and personalize your space.
In London, The Collective has been the first co-living space as such, although following the American influence, the offer will probably start to spread sooner rather than later.
The sharing economy and the hyper-niche social communities are spreading across all aspects of life and it seems to feel much more natural for Millennials and Generation Z who, unlike their parents, feel much more comfortable with uncertainty and the freedom to experience that this unattachment provides, while satisfying the emotional need of socializing and belonging to a group.
But, who is owning those spaces?
Ownership is just getting more and more concentrated in just a small group of organisations.
Some businesses are starting to see an opportunity on this. Mini, the automotive company specialized in cars made for urban life, is now going beyond mobility to expand onto housing and offering their own co-living spaces in Shanghai, where co-living is way more common – the company sees it as a natural move, in line with their brand values.
The Ikea research hub, Space10 in Copenhagen, has recently conducted a study on what are the social expectations from co-living spaces. They are planning to expand their offer to this area with the launch of “One Shared House” planned for 2030 – you can already apply!
This represents a challenge for public institutions to ensure housing access to all social groups.
Greener mobility solutions
Still leveraging the opportunities of the sharing economy, and despite all the controversy around Uber, Citymapper, the popular app for urban mobility widely used in big cities, has just started to test in London its own offer of urban shared mobility, City Mapper Smart Ride. A service that stands in-between a taxi and a luxury bus, offers the possibility to book a ride directly from the app and share the costs with other users. It consists in a series of standard routes and the possibility to pop into the vehicle when it passes by your nearest stop. More expensive and comfortable than a bus and cheaper than a taxi, offers the possibility to socialize and above all, it’s on-demand and easy to book.
Ahead to the Olympic Games, Nissan and DeNa are already testing self-driving taxis in Tokyo, a city that has strongly prevented Uber from gaining ground. We’ll probably start seeing this soon in other cities as well.
As a cosequence of these changes, new needs will also appear in terms of products and services with different usages (hybridisation), with the possibility to share costs and with a priority on common benefits rather than on individualities, but also fulfilling individual needs and as a way to achieve personal goals by creating connections, sharing ideas, exchanging knowledge and information in order to be more efficient.