The growing trend of technological innovations that can bring us closer together and create more sustainable ways of living appear to be at the forefront of how we are to reinvent our cities. It even appears that we want to be brought together, particularly in urban spaces that often lead to feelings of isolation despite the hustle and bustle that surrounds residents.
An array of innovative solutions have presented themselves, given the desire for greater ingenuity to make cities more liveable and eco-friendly. Notably, there has been an increase in the development of sustainable homes designed by key innovators in the industry. The role of the circular economy, which has a focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling, is also an important mechanism for introducing sustainability within the home. Furniture and home décor company, IKEA, is an example of a business leading the way, as they’re working towards dramatically reducing waste while manufacturing products using renewable materials.
These measures are indicative of a new generation of global citizens not only concerned for the future of our environment, but also concerned about the liveability of our cities. From the rise in housing costs, to the common pitfalls that come with living in an urban environment (think: air pollution and excessive noise), many are looking for alternative housing solutions.
Drawing from examples all around the world, here are 4 ways people everywhere are finding new ways to disrupt the traditional housing market.
How do we make cities sustainable?
As we become increasingly more global in our living and working lives, our priorities have shifted in the way we invest in housing options, especially in the major cities.
Shipping container apartments – the future of student housing?
Designed by Arkitema Architects, Beat Box is an initiative that will recycle shipping containers into a fully-functional and eco-friendly solution for the regeneration of the Danish neighbourhood, Muscion. With more and more students being admitted into tertiary education every year, Urban Rigger also developed shipping container apartments to meet the increasing need for affordable and accessible student accommodation.
The use of the shipping containers is an interesting, and perhaps unconventional, solution to sustainable housing. The long-life and availability of the materials save on the use of more traditional building materials like bricks, mortar, and wood. It’s also economical in that the shipping containers can be moved to another location if required.
‘Tiny’ Houses – a compact solution to rising house prices
There are a number of definitions for the ‘tiny house’ movement, but it essentially boils down to compact, fully-functioning, sustainable (and sometimes transportable) housing. Given the relatively recent emergence of this trend, it’s hard to know how long-term a solution this may be. So, while a tiny house may not be your forever home, it might offer freedom, flexibility, and a new approach to investing in real estate.
Australia, for example, has some of the largest houses, and rising housing prices show no sign of slowing down. As a result, a number of companies and individuals have taken to constructing a ‘tiny’ house to minimise their environmental footprint and their cost of living. Tiny House Company in Brisbane specialises in transportable dwellings that are both low-impact and flexible for a variety of needs. Tumbleweed Tiny House Company in the US has been pioneering the movement since 1999, with unique and transportable designs as well. But many people all over the world have taken to building their own tiny houses for a fraction of the cost of buying one.
Garden cities – creating a greener urban outlook
Many companies, apartment dwellers, and even entire cities, are taking on ‘green’ garden projects to reduce their environmental footprint and increase liveability in urban environments.
Replacing the traditional signatures of the urban environment with a greener alternative promises improved air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and greater general wellbeing.
Taking a cue from Singapore’s development as a ‘garden city’, the metropolis has made significant efforts to weave in as much greenery as possible throughout its rapid expansion, including green roofs, green walls, and vertical gardens. This is also made more effective using the incorporation of ‘green building’, a concept introduced in Singapore in 2008. It essentially means the design, construction, and operation of a building will be completed in a manner that reduces or eliminates negative environmental impacts.
Co-living – communities for global nomads
J Walter Thompson listed Global Nomads as one of the Future 100 trends of 2018. The desire to build global communities has created a space where co-living is an acceptable way to connect with like-minded people and save on housing costs. Companies like Roam and Tech Farm exist to make the process of finding affordable and flexible housing easier for the modern global nomad.
It’s clear that this trend is already a hit, with people from all walks of life diving in, from 20-something expats, to retirees and professionals spanning all industries.
“This type of living is needed to meet the housing shortages in big cities, to improve the efficiency of living spaces, to create greater prosperity, and to counteract loneliness. We also have to satisfy the millennial demand for a freer and more modern way to live.”
These innovations are just a sample of the ways that the world is becoming more sustainable in the approach to housing. Because we’ve become increasingly more mobile in our living and working lives, our priorities have shifted in the way we invest in housing options, especially in major cities.
With innovators all over the globe creating alternative options to combat the issues that come with increasing density and rising housing prices, the sky’s the limit!
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