As we start 2021, it is clear we are entering a new era. COVID-19 has affected every sector of society and caused us to rethink everything from architecture to public safety to city planning. Here are some ways designers are reimagining cities, offices, and homes in this new era.

Emphasis on Affordable Housing

The coronavirus hit the global economy hard, which has led to rapid increase in the demand for affordable housing. Many families across the country have suddenly lost their source of income, as well as health benefits, while many are facing unexpected evictions. One way that organizations are addressing the housing crisis is by converting commercial spaces into residential properties. The pandemic led many businesses to switch to remote operations, while a lot of stores, restaurant, and office spaces have shut their doors completely. Perhaps many of these commercial spaces can be easily repurposed, especially larger spaces like malls and hotels.

Health Will Be a Top Priority

In reimagining cities, resistance to threats related to public health will be a top concern as architects, businesses, and other entities learn from their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the future, new buildings will prioritize health and safety by installing high-quality air filtration systems, by implementing sanitation checkpoints, and by using materials that are more resistant to bacteria and viruses. The design of buildings will also take social distancing into consideration by favoring more flexible and spacious layouts.

Accommodating Remote Workers

In this new era, offices and houses will be built to accommodate remote workers. Remote work was already on the rise, but in 2020 the role of remote employment grew dramatically. Unfortunately, most houses and offices aren’t designed with remote workers in mind. For example, houses tend to have open layouts, which isn’t ideal for remote employees who need privacy to be productive. A likely trend in new construction will be houses that have a room designated as an office with design features like soundproof walls. On the other side, office buildings need to integrate video conferencing technology into their design to optimize their remote teams, as a lot of companies moving forward will have a healthy mix of remote and in-person employees.

In 2020, the global pandemic and economic downturn causes priorities in architecture and design to shift. Cities, offices, and houses need to be reimagined to accommodate the changing needs and expectations of families. Architecture firms will be at the forefront of this transition as they work to design residential and commercial spaces that optimize the productivity of remote workers and address public health concerns.


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