With two-thirds of a global population of 9.4 billion people expected to live in urban areas by 2050, we can expect a change in the domestic living arrangements we are familiar with today.
In high-density cities, the static apartment layouts with one function per room will become a luxury that cannot be maintained. The traditional notion of a dedicated living room, bedroom, bathroom or kitchen will no longer be economically or environmentally sustainable. Building stock will need to work harder.
The need to use building space more efficiently means adaptive and responsive domestic micro-environments will replace the old concept of static rooms within a private apartment.
These changes will reframe our idea of what home means, what we do in it, and how the home itself can support and help inhabitants with domestic living.
So how will these flexible spaces work?
Sidewalk Labs and IKEA are collaborating with Ori, a robotic furniture startup that emerged from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to transform our use of increasingly sparse urban living space. They have developed ways to enhance existing apartments with pre-manufactured standardised products to make living spaces flexible.
Leading product designers have produced tantalizing concepts of how these newly developed products could enhance our lives in cities where space is at a premium. One example is based on a floor plan measuring just 3m by 3.5m.