Interaction rather than ownership
The economic model based on the way we use and share services and space is having a profound effect on real estate across all types of property assets. Furthermore, co-living and co-working are providing a response to a number of lifestyles changes, such as the need for greater mobility and more erratic career paths that require increased flexibility and the sharing of costs.
City dwellers are learning to live with social distancing, that is in turn leading to a different organisation of public spaces. Additional square metres have been allotted to shops, restaurants and alternative services and modes of transport. Pavements and streets have, for example, gone beyond their original function as zones people just pass through, to become living spaces. In Paris, tables have been set up in parking spaces and temporary bar and restaurant terraces remained until October 2020. Urban designers now have the challenge of maintaining social distancing without necessarily allowing cities to spread out. More than ever, today we must preserve appropriate densification, which is crucial for limiting various environmental impacts.
Agility at every level
The Covid-19 pandemic is a source of ingenuity and new ways of sharing, and is encouraging the reversibility of space and different infrastructures. In Berlin for example, nightclubs have transformed into art exhibitions or bars and restaurants. Transportation infrastructures and office buildings, designed to absorb massive incoming and outgoing flows of people, are also adjusting to new rhythms and ways of working.
A resilient urban network
This juxtaposition of different ways of connecting with cities opens up new possibilities. At the height of the pandemic, hotels, residences and the famous Bateaux Mouche on the Seine, were converted into accommodation for hospital workers or homeless people; factories adjusted their production lines and fablabs used their 3D printers to produce ventilators. And tomorrow? The new ‘resource territory’ concept could represent the future of our cities. New urban, low-carbon, productive and fertile eco-systems are emerging, in spaces driven by principles of frugality and the concept of the chronotope (how we interact with time and space). All these current and future experiences are reshaping the face of our cities.