There's been an idea that's been constantly vying for attention in my mind. I haven't been giving it much attention, since it's outside of my current focuses, but it's gotten more and more insistent over the past few days. I couldn't put it off any longer.
Welcome to another installment of Heather's Intuitive Future Forecasts, this time, talking about building material and the future of housing.
The Tang of Housing: Space Development driving the Future of Housing on Earth
We're going to see a dramatic change in the materials we use and way we create shelter. First, the housing many of us in the US live in are coming up on 100 years old. Even craftsmen houses are ageing. This was not a style of house that was built to last for 100+ years. (The Victorians on the other hand, with their plaster and lathe are a different story.)
Homes built in the past 20 years have even less longivity. Many were slap-dash thrown up during various housing building bubbles. (I can't imagine the state of the lofts in Potrero Hill building in 1999 that were occupied by a startup I worked for.) Thus we're going to see the decaying of the existing housing stock. Which, frankly is fine. Because technology is changing and evolving faster than the existing housing infrastructure can deal with. And people want different things anyway.
Here's the math equation:
Innovations in material sciences
+ the desire for flexible application to technology
+ gamification/quantification trend
+ limited/reducing resource use
- 70s modern design models
+ space travel as a weak signal.
You might ask, what does space travel have to do with housing?
A lot actually. A space travel industry could be jumpstarted by a revitalization in the earth housing industry. Many of the materials, modularity/repairability/extensibility needed for space, can be much simpler applied here on earth - for rapid prototyping. Our current housing stock is based on a paradigm of expanding resources that is just no longer the case. And with developing nations evolving into the developed - dense urban capacity is important more than ever.
Think Tang for the Housing Industry.
Here's the vision of the house of the future.
Using new materials developed for space use, prototype houses that have an electronic nervous system aka computer system. Walls and spaces must be flexible to allow for upgrading/switching/changing the infrastructure as the infrastructure is evolved. (Infrastructure = water, electricity, gas, air, internet/communication, waste and ??? else).
Additionally there will be tracking mechanism, although they will maintain privacy - we're not going to have Keeping up with the Jones changed to Competing with the Jones. This will monitor use and harvest/mining of resources. I see an integration with more urban gardening/green spaces plants: internal and directly external. Grass yards may be replaced with different types of plants.
There needs to be a way to recycle/evolve your living space, without having to be wealthy: permits and construction need to stop being available only for the wealthy. Government infrastructure and bureaucracy need to evolve to encourage the recycling of decaying homes utilizing old infrastructure to new homes that will pave the way for space development, travel and eventually living.
Engaging people to re-create their living spaces, while user/product testing materials, designs and mindsets that engage everyone to making the dream of space a reality.
Use this housing development improving living on earth as a base to slingshot ourselves ad astra, beyond our dreams and desires.
With that, small insistent idea in the back of my mind, you have been set free into the world.