Future of Neighbourhood

The neighbourhood of the future

Andres Duany, renowned architect and city planner, in an interview with USA Today, says that in only a few decades, based on current market trends, demographic changes and economic realities, the town of the future will be a place where people “will walk and ride more and drive less. And they will like it.”

The emerging metros of the world will house it citizens in smaller homes, with smaller yards, and provide smaller space to park their small cars ( if they chose to have any car). People will not spend long hours commuting to work, school or play.

The Venus Project, an organization that proposes a feasible plan of action for social change envisions a circular city arrangement that would use the most sophisticated available resources and construction techniques. Its geometrically elegant and efficient circular arrangement will be surrounded by, and incorporated into the city design, parks and lovely gardens. This city will be designed to operate with the minimum expenditure of energy using the cleanest technology available, which will be in harmony with nature to obtain the highest possible standard of living for everyone. This system facilitates efficient transportation for city residents, eliminating the need for automobiles.

In America, this won’t lead to disappearance of ‘conventional suburbia’, if anything, far from it. Duany estimates that at least 40% of homebuyers will still favour big houses on big plots with room for a few cars. But as the millennial generation comes of age and demographic changes continue across the country, the market demand for walkable communities will only continue to escalate. And with that rise in demand, Duany notes, a wide range of housing choices will emerge. America 30 years from now will be a place with a diversity of housing and building types.

Our perspective

Work and income are the prime drivers of neighbourhoods. In the future, as more workforce will be telecommuting, the choice of neighbourhood will solely be a function of lifestyle choice. We might also see reversal in urbanisation as many people may choose to live in the presently designated rural areas (though they may be equipped with all modern infrastructures). The urban neighbourhoods will be based on practicality and reflect and vary as per the needs and desire of the inhabiting communities.

While some neighbourhoods will be occupied by people still going to so called workplaces or schools and will prefer vehicle mobility, others would prefer walkability. However, all these neighbourhoods will be self-sustainable in terms of energy, water and sanitation. And well networked with transportation grid and for cultural activities.

Neighbourhood choice will remain important but for different reasons – more social and personal reasons than professional (i.e. work will not be the prime driver of location of living). Neighbours will also be more closely knit and integrated to one another and the community as a whole.

Are our children living in a way that they will naturally know a few things about such neighbourhoods while growing up? Not really, yet. Of course, parents have to be role model.

Thus, the future of neighbourhood would be characterised by:

  1. Development of more ‘mini city campuses’ with all facilities for life and work. There are growing examples of such centres in India also.
  2. Ownership will not be a key goal for living in a locality/housing complex; good lifestyle will be the primary reasons for selecting living spaces
  3. It would be unique blend of ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ setting, e.g., closely knit community characterized by a rural setting, within ultra-modern features, style and connectedness.
  4. Significant changes would be called for in personal and professional conduct, for example, the necessity of developing self-discipline and self-motivation to work from

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