A vision of how we will live in the future

The Urban Village Project is a concept for living from Ikea’s Space 10 and Effekt Architects which looks at ways to improve the quality of life for city dwellers.

The Urban Village Project is a concept for living which looks at ways to improve the quality of life for city dwellers @space10_journal @IKEAUK Click To Tweet

Ikea’s future living lab Space 10, which brought us the recent One Shared House 2030 Survey exploring the concept of co-living, has teamed up with Effekt Architects to envisage how we will live in the future.

The Urban Village Project is described as ‘a vision for liveable, sustainable and affordable homes’ and is focused on these three themes. It is, in essence, a response to the challenges that are affecting quality of life for people in towns and cities, namely climate change, overcrowding, an ageing population, and the lack of affordable housing.

The Urban Village Project is based on the premise that as humans we prefer to live in a close-knit community, as that fulfils our practical and emotional needs and enhances our wellbeing.

It represents a solution for all ages, as it envisions cross-generational shared living communities, and blends private living with sociable spaces. Shared facilities and services would see communal dinners, shared daycare, shared transportation and urban gardening become the norm and help the community thrive.

The homes would be multiple apartments that suit single people, couples, and families of varying sizes, that are flexible so that should circumstances change, apartments can be swapped or adapted to suit.

The modular building system would enable people to add to or edit their home as they wished, and would minimise waste, with almost all components and materials being replaced, reused and recycled over the lifespan of the building.

Urban Village Project

Sustainability is a key element of the project, which proposes solutions such as water harvesting, renewable energy, local food production, and localised composting. The homes themselves would be made out of cross-laminated timber, which is said to be durable and have environmental advantages.

Sustainability is a key element of the Urban Village Project, which proposes water harvesting, renewable energy, local food production and localised composting @space10_journal @IKEAUK Click To Tweet

The project also suggests that the community shares items such as tools, which would cut down on the number of unnecessary purchases per household and reduce waste.

High-quality housing for less is certainly an attractive idea. The modular building system would be pre-fabricated, mass produced and flat-packed, driving construction costs down.

Seeking investment from partners would help with this, however the project proposes has a further suggestion to enable more people become homeowners.

The idea is a form of housing co-operative, where residents would contribute a monthly rate to cover essentials such as rent, electricity, water, heating, maintenance and shared facilities. If they wished they could add additional facilities such as food, media or transport, all of which could be managed via a digital tool to keep people connected.

Urban Village Project

They would also have the option of buying ‘shares’ of real estate when their circumstances permitted, so they could gradually access home ownership over a period of time.

While some might consider it idealistic, the Urban Village Project represents a positive and practical answer to many issues facing today’s city dwellers, that could go some way to improving their quality of life.

As urbanisation becomes increasingly rapid, and global trends such as sustainability, multi-generational living, and single occupancy living continue to take hold, the proposals in the project are likely to be even more relevant.

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