rapid urbanization, aging populations, climate change and lack of affordable housing are only a few of the major challenges facing cities around the world.
unless we rethink the nature of our built environment, urban areas will continue to become increasingly unsustainable. with this in mind, SPACE10, IKEA’s global research and design lab, and EFFEKT architects present ‘the urban village project’ — a vision for the design, build and habitation of future homes, neighborhoods and cities. presented at the 2019 democratic design days, IKEA’s annual event to introduce its upcoming collections and collaboration, the project seeks to find ways to make our daily lives more sustainable, affordable, and enjoyable.SPACE10’s ‘urban village project’ is a vision for creating shared living environments for people of all ages, backgrounds, and living conditions. together with EFFEKT architects, the research and design team hopes to facilitate a better quality of life by nourishing the benefits that come with living in a community — such as daycare, urban farming, communal dining, fitness, and shared transportation. ‘for us, shared living can offer potential solutions to some of these urgent challenges,’ describes jamiee williams, architectural lead at SPACE10. ‘ the urban village project looks at how we can create new realities that promote a sense of well-being and turn the spaces we inhabit into healthier and happier places, all while being more affordable and efficient for those that live there.’
architecturally, the ‘urban village project’ would utilize cross-laminated timber, a wood that comes with huge environmental advantages, and would be based on a standardized modular building system. this pre-fabricated, mass-produced and flat-packed system could be used to construct everything from town houses to towers, single person homes and spaces several people can share.
almost all components and materials would be able to be disassembled and easily replaced, reused and recycled over the building’s lifespan — even the building itself could be retrofitted or repurposed. ‘the system is designed for disassembly, unlocking a truly circular material loop where building components and materials can be reused and replaced rather than wasted,’ comments sinus lynge, partner at EFFEKT architects. ‘this could be a game changer for the building industry.’
as part of the ‘urban village project’, sustainable living would be made possible through integrated features, such as water harvesting, clean energy production, recycling, local food production and localized composting. these aspects, and more, can be monitored and engaged via a digital interface designed by norgram studio, who has designed a virtual platform to support the residents’ daily needs. furthermore, by also introducing a new model of ownership, residents are able to buy ‘shares’ in the property, when and if they want, meaning they could access ownership progressively, and cash in later as the property value increases.
SPACE10 has been researching and exploring the idea of co-living for two years. together with EFFEKT architects, IKEA, and development partners ikano bostad, the lab has condensed those insights into a concrete concept, which they now ask the world to give feedback on — hoping to inspire and engage others before the next steps of the project takes shape.