• jerry woods

The Future of Building: 7 Big Ideas



As a result of the COVID 19 global pandemic housing everywhere is in crisis causing misery and fear for millions of families. Now more than ever there is a push from all corners of the world and all governments to develop a plan for the worldwide affordable housing shortage.

Below are some of what the world’s brightest minds have come up with to deliver options for genuinely affordable homes.

1) Planning the future

If you are a developer and going to go out and find the money for brand new infrastructure, the “new normal” (post-COVID) offers the chance for you to do things differently, whether in developing more eco-friendly housing, using more sustainable materials, or building with different architectural styles, now is the time to try new things in order to get consumers out and interested.

Many experts are pointing to trends that indicate an alternative vision to densely packed suburbs or endless cul-de-sacs.

With the lack of space in many urban areas, the future of development will need to find new ways to use the space that is available. For example, one solution calls for moving more mixed-use town centers into residential areas. The idea is to make real mixed-use properties – attracting shops, businesses, and housing to relocate to a central core. Also by adding neighborhood-friendly things like cycle lanes and attractive public parks cities will be able to encourage more Live/Work/Play (LWP) developments. True LWP developments will help city planners working in conjunction with developers to emphasize walkability over the car-centric visions of the past.

2) The architecture of the future is now

A big issue for federal, state, and local governments to address is the country’s housing shortage is by exploring new ways to refurbish the nation’s stock of abandoned, underused, or derelict factories, office buildings, and old housing tenements.

Many state and local governments have tightened up on discounts and tax breaks for new office or subdivision developments. Also, social norms and environmental concerns of the country have evolved to rally around innovative restoration projects, giving formerly unemployed people and veterans the chance to refurbish homes they then get the chance to move into.

Globally, people are looking for answers to the common problem of a housing shortage.


Many builders are converting old malls to house multiple consumers friendly attractions such as museums on one floor, affordable housing on other floors, with the rest made up of commercial office and retail space.

3) Robot builders

You thought modern construction peaked with computer-aided design? Think again. Companies are successfully completing whole modular homes printed using mobile 3D printing technology or old shipping containers. The completed printed construction (including interior) can take less than 24 hours for an open plan studio-style home, measuring 409 sq feet.

For more traditional builds there are bricklaying robots, laying the groundwork for robotic construction. Designed to operate collaboratively with a mason, it can work six times faster than a human, laying 3,000 bricks a day. It’s hoped that the technology will be introduced into more than 16 construction sites across the US in the next two years.

Drones are also making a major impact on the building site as well. A Japanese construction giant Komatsu is using drones as ‘the eyes’ for automated bulldozers. The drones scan the site and feed the information to the machines to plot a course.

The future is NOW!!!

4) New materials

Prefab homes are making a comeback in a big way. They can be built quickly, cheaply, and with almost no delays in a stable factory environment. These houses can be built at a fraction of stick-built homes because of the re-use of materials like old shipping containers.

Even the raw materials are advancing. Good old-fashioned timber is making a comeback, and thanks to advanced construction techniques (including honeycomb structures), are being used to build sky-high towers.

On the other side of the material spectrum, new products such as plastic bricks, which were developed from the concept of recycling the plastic bags that dominate landfills, are taking hold throughout the industry. The bricks can withstand up to six tons of pressure and if exposed to bad weather like hurricanes they are likely to be able to hold up better compared to the current clay brick homes that are often blown away.

5) Fill up old spaces

The promise of bringing back life to empty buildings remains a major priority of many state and local governments. Rustbelt towns, with an abundance of decaying industrial warehouses, are transforming those structures into offices, medical centers, apartments, artists’ studios, and museums.

6) Community Land Trusts

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) represents one of the most exciting and controversial ideas in American Development circles. Because it goes against the traditional capitalist model some may fight tooth and nail to stop it, but it may be the only way for ordinary people to stave off the ever-rising housing costs in major urban areas. The Trusts would regulate any homes sold by residents who want to move. They will have their price set by the CLT. This ensures other local people can still afford to buy. It’s very similar to a co-op.

7) Establishment of a new NHS – ‘National Home Service’

As the housing crisis lurching into a full-blown nationwide emergency, some have proposed a ‘national home service’.

The NHS would bring together the greatest designers, planners, developers, and construction teams to create a new generation of affordable, modern affordable houses, transforming the way the country views lower-cost accommodation.

The idea is to make them so desirable everyone will want to live in them, but the prices will be limited as not to exceed incomes. The federal government will back the whole program. There are hundreds of thousands of empty homes, office buildings, and malls that could and should be saved from the bulldozers and refurbished.

The idea is to inspire young people to enter the construction, design, and housing professions and transform the way we think, plan, and construct homes in America.

To have a long term and stable place to call ‘home’ should be a fundamental right for everyone in a modern civilized society.

We won’t be able to solve all the problems in the housing industry unless we harness the talents, ideas, and energy of the young industry professional of today and actively disrupting the current failing system.

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