Thought for tomorrow: Housing 2044

Thought for tomorrow: Housing 2044

February 2019

There was a time when housing was just that, housing – cottages and country houses, terraces and tower blocks. But things change. For some time housebuilders have been building products, especially in the suburbs. Now almost everything is a product, probably because most is for the market. All new housing is named and branded, but the names and brands are underpinned by more fundamental structural changes in policy and expectation.

In 2044, I imagine the home will be more communal and more compact. The inexorable search for ever-greater market differentiation, targeting housing at the young, over-55s or those who need extra care will have matured into a more sophisticated intergenerational model. I hope housing won’t be mass-produced. A key tenet of home is humanity, and that humanity comes not from the production of units but the sense that home is personal. People have made the mistake in the past of comparing houses with cars and white goods. They are not the same. 

Home will be more interesting. We will still live in houses and towers but I believe we’ll have discovered how beneficial it is to share, to live together, to garden and cook together. Juggling kids and work, especially as a single parent will no longer be a problem. Workspace will be tethered to the home. There will be less loneliness. A good home life will be underpinned by a good home. Politicians and developers will have realised the value of co-housing, its efficiency and inherent social qualities – taking up less land, costing less to build and offering more – and its capacity to address the housing crisis.

by Simon Henley

For Building Magazine's Thought for tomorrow: Housing 2044

Image: Henley Halebrown