There is a fascination in cinematographic works for posing probable future scenarios of humanity, this fact is inevitable in human beings, given our imminent existential dilemma both individually and collectively, about what the future will bring. Constantly creating questions about the future could be considered normal, as posited by Gordon Allport states that planning and programming for the future are activities intrinsic to a healthy human nature.

Content creator Pau M. Just states that “the more in the future the action of a film is located, the probability that its architecture is brutalism tends to 1”. Where films such as Blade Runner set in the year 2049 and Dune set in the year 10191 are examples of this statement, which is associated with adaptability and durability within a hostile environment, as well as a demonstration of monumental power, as part of a cinematographic language within films, which reflects the context in which it takes place.

If the creators of the film industry have played a vital role in the way we see the future, then it is necessary to identify and ask what will be the situation of two completely transcendental elements; What will the world around us look like? And what will the human beings/society who will live in the future?

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Mercedes-Benz Museum_©Sara Kurfesss

An Exponential Increase in our Population

The United Nations Organization projects that the human population will increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years, totaling 9.7 billion people. This radical growth will bring a considerable increase in the processes of urbanization and will increase the existing migratory movements throughout the world.

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©Mike Kononov

If we take the concept that matter occupies a specific place and that place is a basic and physical property of bodies, we would be faced with a challenge where, in the first place, we would have to ask ourselves, where are so many people going to live together? According to Maslow’s theory of human motivation (1954), the need for shelter/housing is found in the first strata of the pyramid of human needs, which is the basis for developing the rest of our needs through social, esteem, and self-realization. Hence, considering where so many people will have their home takes such relevance.

Possibly we would be in the presence of architectural scenarios where the overcrowding of houses in areas of reduced displacement emerges as a solution to address this challenge and that will further open the discussion on the economic value of the space and also from the qualitative perspective of it.

Designing for the Aging World

Accessibility and universal design are topics that have gained strength during our generation related to data from the World Bank, 15 percent of the world’s population experiences some disability, and whose prevalence is higher in developed countries. In addition to this last argument, universal design will gain more force if we consider the UN data that suggest that 25% of the European population will be over 65 in 2050.

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Sunday Strolls_©Matthew Bennett

Reforming existing built environments will be a transcendental task for architects and urban planners, as well as those who define and develop solutions for public transport, seeking to eliminate the architectural barriers of the millions of people with disabilities that currently exist, as well as those who will add as the world’s population grows and ages.

This situation will probably bring a much more forceful approach to respond to the constant needs of the population, where the characteristics and key elements of urban development will be more focused on safe and clean mobility, while the interiors of the buildings will be much more prepared from its conceptualization to be spaces of inclusion.

The Consequences of Consumer, Design, and Construction Trends

A great reflection of our consumer trends is the speed at which the urban landscape has changed and is changing right now. What was once endemic to big cities is now a global phenomenon. We see buildings being erected over and over daily in the same location, what in the past was a local store has now also been an apartment building and is now a mixed-use corporate complex.

Of all the points mentioned in this text, it seems that the climate crisis derived from our consumption trends and immediacy is the most tangible and close to our time. At the same time, architecture is one of the disciplines that can have the greatest effect to fight against this great challenge of our species, through the taking of adaptive, preventive, or mitigation measures.

It is encouraging to see that governments come together for a call to action towards the future in our fight for climate change, but it is clear that this fight is not reserved for future generations, developed countries, or large corporations. It is possible to make big changes to change our ways of designing and building, which today have more similarities with fast food than with the resilient architecture that is glimpsed in the future of humanity.

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Bosco Verticale 121_©Ricardo Gomez Angel

Considering that the essence of architecture is space and it undergoes modifications over time, it is natural to think that the situations of human activities on the planet are also subject to modifications given their relationship with the natural, economic and social context, therefore, we will be faced with challenges that will largely determine the priorities that will be established when creating architecture and all the disciplines associated with it.

Although the future does not seem very encouraging for our society, it is important to recognize that the fact that there is a future is the best reason to fight for it, through a constant reinvention of architecture as a discipline that is mutable (from what otherwise we would continue to build dolmens), and that, it is constantly fed by the new generations of architects in the world.

References:

  1. Maslow, A.H. (1954). Motivation and Personality. New Delhi: Pearson Education; New Delhi.
  2. Josep Maria Montaner (2011). La modernidad superada. Barcelona Gustavo Gili.
  3. Ángel M., Nubiola, C. and Fundación Caja De Arquitectos (2018). Arquitectura y cambio climático. Madrid Los Libros De La Catarata Fundación Arquia.
  4. United Nations (2021). Global Issues, Population. Available at: https://www.un.org/es/global-issues/population
  5. The World Bank (2021) Disability Inclusion. (Last updated 10 Oct 2021). Available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/disability#1
  6. Deconstruyendo el Cine – Pau M. Just (2021) DUNE: Me la juego, así construiremos en el FUTURO. [YouTube video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h33aYLB77Mw
Author

Mexican architect, LEED Green associate & CPABE. Design lover in all its expressions with a strong interest in sustainable development and accessibility. Enrique Tovar lives through dedication and passion. He firmly believes that creating a narrative through writing and photography is a vital tool to reach a deep understanding of design.

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