Tasks for the city
Amid these trends, a number of general tasks have to be faced by cities, which often also affect the built environment and living conditions:
- the growing need for sustainable material use and cyclical construction;
- making the city climate-proof;
- ensuring the affordability of housing, especially for people who are indispensable to the smooth functioning of a city (from hospital nurses to dustmen);
- maintaining cohesion in cities by encouraging encounters between increasingly diverse population groups;
- responding to new issues relating to the sub-economy. More and more people in cities make their homes available to tourists on a temporary basis or longer term, or set up separate accommodation for tourists.
Tasks relating to design
In short, there are numerous different developments at play in the field of housing in cities in particular that each set their own requirements for the design and layout of buildings:
- the response to temporariness and flexibility calls for modules that can be applied quickly, and that can preferably be reused due to the need for cyclical construction;
- the response to the requirements of ageing residents in terms of the long-term suitability of their homes and the suitability of their homes for care provision requires an adaptable design with a high level of quality and sustainability into which technology can also be incorporated (such as sensors that enable remote monitoring);
- there is a greater need for high-quality public and communal meeting areas, also to reduce segregation;
- residents come and go and temporarily make alternative use of their homes for the sub-economy: how can a design with a shorter lifespan remain sustainable?;
- with more residents involved, the designer needs to be able to adapt more easily to sometimes widely varying wishes.
The challenge for designers is to link these new tasks in the built environment and homes. In contrast with the past, their role is no longer limited to designing concrete homes, but also involves devising concepts for project-based construction that can be applied by clients (investors, developers, housing corporations, residents’ cooperatives, etc.).