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Design Forecast 2023

10 Meta Trends Set To Transform The Future Of Cities

Mobility, multifamily, and multipurpose—will be common and key drivers of design across many practice areas, according to Gensler’s Design Forecast 2023, based on the international firm’s work in more than 80 countries.

The abiding premise of this 189-page report, published by Gensler Research Institute, is that the world is changing radically, and design must respond accordingly with bold new ideas if it’s to impact this transformation of buildings and cities. “Crisis and change have taught us a new way to approach design at Gensler,” write the firm’s co-CEOs Diane Hoskins and Andy Cohen. “It is an ongoing process, where research leads to experimentation and new ideas, which, in turn, lead to further investigations, discoveries, and motivations.” The forecast identifies 10 megatrends— culled from the firm’s 29 practice areas—that Gensler believes will transform the future of cities:

01 RECLAIMING EXPERIENCE

TREND
The absence of experience faced during the pandemic continues to remind people of how valuable human interaction is and how critical our spaces are when it comes to enriching our lives.

STRATEGY
By prioritising design strategies that emphasise people’s needs and expectations, we can reclaim the human experience in the places where we live, work and play.

02 LIFE-WORK CONNECTION

TREND
The future of cities is being defined by their ability to reenergise the connection between life and work.

STRATEGY
The future’s most vibrant cities will be those that use design to successfully address the interconnected life-work issues of thriving workplaces, attainable housing, and safe and accessible transportation.

2 – The River District, New Orleans

03 BUILDING TRANSFORMATION

TREND
Stranded assets are creating development opportunities that can regenerate cities and transform outdated office buildings into thriving residential living.

STRATEGY
As real estate worldwide ages, building owners and developers are leveraging adaptive reuse strategies — specifically office-to-residential conversion — to transform stranded assets and create vibrant life-work districts and high-value properties.

04 ATTAINABLE HOUSING

TREND
Rising interest rates and inflation are creating a larger opening for multifamily development that could finally address the global shortage of attainable housing.

STRATEGY
As urban communities and central business districts are redesigned, attainable housing becomes a key feature of the type of life-work, mixed-use neighbourhoods that will redefine the future of cities.

5 – Related Companies, South Congress Office Building, Austin

05 DECARBONISATION

TREND
The decarbonisation of the built environment continues to be the imperative of our time.

STRATEGY
As ESG and carbon disclosure mandates catalyse transformation in the construction industry, the world will see more investments in sustainable design and construction strategies that sequester carbon in buildings and document the design details of a building’s environmental and social impact.

6 – BMW Designworks Future of Mobility, Los Angeles

06 MOBILITY

TREND
The mobility shift is continuing to unfold, paving the way for more life-work cities and vibrant urban communities.

STRATEGY
The shift to new forms of electric and autonomous vehicles and public transportation will allow cities to redesign underused urban districts into mixed-use life-work communities.

07 EQUITABLE DESIGN

TREND
The demand for buildings and urban districts that have a higher purpose with a positive social impact will continue to drive design decisions.

STRATEGY
Creating positive social impact is influencing everything from urban master planning to building design, as a focus is placed on the way spaces and infrastructure can address things like growing inequality, aging populations and community engagement.

08 INTELLIGENT PLACES TREND

PropTech and smart building technology will redefine the experience of places. STRATEGY Sensors, IoT and other smart property technologies and apps can create far more curated experiences for tenants, while providing developers with the data and insights they need to design better spaces.

9 – Lumina Shanghai, Shanghai, China

09 FLIGHT TO QUALITY

TREND
Office tenants are continuing their flight to quality.

STRATEGY
Tenants will continue their flight to quality — and their flight to experience — giving a competitive advantage to Class A spaces in prime locations with the right mix of high-quality amenities in and around the building.

10 Insight HQ, Chandler, Ariz.

10 THE OFFICE AS A DESTINATION

TREND
The transformation of the workplace continues, with offices that are compelling destinations with a diverse collection of spaces and experiences.

STRATEGY
The office has an important role to play in the future of work, but only if we curate experiences and design compelling destinations for employees that include a mix of spaces that make it easy for individuals and teams to focus and connect.

Source: Gensler

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