Key Trends in Organization of Urban Space for Work and Rest
For the first time in human history, 50% of the world’s population lives in the cities. According to the UN forecasts, this figure will reach 66% in 2050 and will only grow further.
Rapid global urbanization is already changing look of the cities, the philosophy of coexistence in the urban community and challenges of the urbanism.
The twentieth century was marked by a large industrialization and the ever-increasing pace of life. As a result, the following trends and phenomens emerged:
• a car has become mandatory for the citizen;
• extensive public transport infrastructure has emerged;
• residents of metropolitan areas and small towns (especially in Europe and the United States) began to move around the city exclusively by transport. As a result, urban space has become haven for cars and not so welcoming place for the people.
However, the very fast pace of urban life has led to the search for solutions that will transform a busy metropolis into a cocoon city – a separate universe where tired of metal and concrete urban dwellers will experience maximum comfort and complete safety.
A city for people
New urban trends became more focused on the individual and his feelings and made popular spaces, that are oriented toward gaining a new experience more than simply aesthetic expression of ideas. So-called “emotional states” became the theme of the London Design Biennale in September 2018.
Place-making, which until recently was like a template for an urban designer, is not enough now. Today, it’s about creating an experience – how houses and space between them are evaluated in terms of human centric design. Urbanists are looking for authenticity and conceptualism instead of “franchising architecture” and commonplaceness. Experience has a real value which is expressed in the desire of returning to the place where unforgettable emotions were experienced not only to repeat them, but also to feel yourself belonging and being part of events and places.
Research in the field of neuro-biology has proven that physical environment directly affects the cognitive ability and well-being of the person. Therefore, a new city is a city of pedestrian zones and long walks. Nowadays, a street becomes again not just a connecting road from the point A to the point B, but also a place for living and entertainment. Accordingly, modern cities strive to have more pedestrian streets, cross-walks and bridges where people can conveniently and safely move around the city without bypassing parked cars and waiting for green light.
Photo: Millenium Bridge in London
Human-oriented urbanism makes city space inclusive and comfortable for all. The infrastructure of the city is transformed into something like a “Swiss knife”, when everyone can find those services or opportunities that meet their individual needs – either that will be a person on a bicycle, parents with a child, a person on a wheelchair or a pedestrian with a pet etc.
This versatility of urban space provides equal opportunities and reflects current philosophy of life – “convenience for everyone and everywhere”.
Flexibility and multifunctionality as trends in the environment development
The mobile generation of millennials, who often choose to work from home, cafe, airport lounge or exotic corner of the world, has changed their approach in organizing public space in the city, their own homes and workplaces and blurred the borders of the functional tasks in different locations, making them as multitasking and flexible as possible. Shops, cafes, hotels, work environments become similar to the living rooms. The line between work and leisure get blurred, forming a single space for living.
This trend is especially striking in the organization of the office spaces. Everything that feels hygge becomes more valued here:
- relaxing space;
- opportunity to get fresh air in the city;
- opportunity to relax without going to the spa.
Swiss market research agency Demoscope says that 94% of surveyed define working environment as important for a sense of happiness at work. And there is a direct correlation between office design and number of days an employee spent on a sick leave according to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.
Trying to keep employees and ensure their motivation and high efficiency, companies create offices which they do not want to leave. Modern companies prefer multi-functional areas, additional office infrastructure and higher employee comfort. Employers organize office cafes, fitness centers, outdoor terraces and let employees to communicate with colleagues or clients, feeling themselves like at home. Nowadays, this has become a sign of company’s good breeding.
Photo: office of company MANEZH
Tendency to return to the nature and naturalness does not lose its relevance and, on the contrary, becomes more and more trendy, since the negative consequences of human activity can already be visible with the naked eye. Quality of life for the citizens depends significantly on the green spaces. Landscaping creates a natural shade, protects against dust and noise, keeps moisture from rainfalls and purifies the air. People prefer walking in the shade of trees rather than in the paved empty streets. Therefore, in such big cities as Vienna, it is popular to create continuous green corridors which can lead you from one point of the city to another without getting out from the greens (through squares, parks, alleys and promenades).
Well-developed cities have come to a realisation of the advantages they get from the green areas organization, not only as the basic elements of the urban design and aesthetic locations, but also as a source of additional income. After all, the vicinity with parks and squares significantly increases value of the land and its rent, not to mention the greater attractiveness of the city to the tourists, and therefore a city budget revenue as well. Next on the photo – Casa CorManca building in Mexico City, designed by Paul Cremoux Studio.
Urban planners are not limited with the reconstruction or building of the new parks and squares only. Vertical gardens outside and inside the buildings are gaining in popularity.
The residents of the city are also taking the initiative doing urban farming and growing their own vegetables and herbs in the city (for example, a public vegetable garden on Pushkinska Street, 31-B-1 in Kyiv).
The “Go green” trend also extends to the top executives who think in the categories of the future. According to the PWC Survey: Millennials at Work, 86% of young professionals are ready to change the job, if the employer is irresponsible to the environment. This means, that a far-sighted employer will make his office “green” not to lose skilled staff. The eco-office provides:
- furnishing with stuff, which production causes minimal damage to the environment;
- energy efficient engineering systems;
- recycling of the office waste etc.
An example of the office of a new-generation is the recently constructed Amazon Orb-Shaped Rainforest building, where the real rainforest is thriving.
The city is a living organism that changes its look along with changes in human values and rules of coexistence in the society. Certainly, the principles of urban planning are not limited to the three trends mentioned above. However, these key trends in particular have been defining the direction in development of the modern urbanism for several years and will form cities in the coming years too. These trends determine how citizens feel being in the city today, what are the criteria of urban comfort and what are the hallmarks of the city built for people. And for the first time in the human history, principles of urban planning are completely oriented on a human and harmonious coexistence with the entire planet. This approach gives a hope that humanity will revive the lost balance of man-made and natural and that transformed cities of the future will be a real oasis of life for people.