Is it possible to think about living in a home when you are young, another during your adulthood, and another when you grow old? I’m not talking about owning them, not even renting just one specific space; I am talking about a wider and more open housing system that enriches both the individuals and the city.
Our society is more diverse than ever, mobility is a concept increasingly present in our lives; it changes, evolves and creates very different profiles of citizens. Is Architecture, Urbanism or Real Estate Market responding to this situation?
Is it sustainable to buy a home when you are thirty years old, pay for it thirty more, and never move from it?
What does it mean for a person to grow older seeing how your needs are changing but the architectural space around stays still?
Life expectancy has grown considerably. The oldest sector of population demands adaptable housing, and needs help with everyday tasks; is it a politics of dependence issue or Architecture has something to say?
The same reasoning could be applied to the population group between 25-30 years. The model has changed quickly in a short time, due to the globalization and currently to the economic situation: high qualified profiles for precarious jobs and wages, mobility caused either by necessity or desire of experience in different cultures… Is impossible to generate a demand that meets the expectations of the Real Estate Market the way it operates today. Is the solution to keep waiting for the past situation to come back or it’s time to push for a change?
A change less based on land occupation and economical profit, and more user driven, responding to their heterogeneity. Instead of blocks of apartments we could talk about containers of habitable typologies, having housing inside one building able to be adapted to the different range of age of the users, their culture and their needs. This could be possible with a system that could be arranged in two ways, either the house is reconfigurable in time and the user remains there or the typology is static and what changes is the user.
The first option would allow more a management system based on private property, in which you own a house adaptable overtime. The second one would be based on a more flexible market (in which you would not necessarily own an specific house but being part of a “housing network”), user exchange and mobility, option probably more applicable to these days way of life.
Both support a mix of users in the urban environment generating wealth for the city. Both are a study case for architects and urban planners, and a perfect example of how the users and their actions can help to shape the future of our cities.