There has been a growing consensus that urban living is better for the environment than suburban sprawl and its higher carbon footprint. Cities are also great laboratories for ideas: so many smart ambitious people packed in together are bound to collaborate, coming up with the businesses, causes and ideas of the future.
So cities might save us. The question is, how do we live in these boxy things without going crazy? Evidently that question occurred to a lot of designers crammed in together, and they’ve found ways to give our urban lifestyle more style while making it more livable.
Tudelü retractable walls allow one-room apartments to close off or open up at the push of a button. Designer Luca Nichetto, working with developer Urban Capital, has come up with the "Cubitat": a customizable ten-foot cube that functions as kitchen, bedroom, storage, and more. While the future of design seems bent on making the best use of every cubic inch, there’s also a retro movement, perhaps resisting this tight-cornered trend, for the curvy metro-sexiness of midcentury modern design.
Design issues matter when you’ve left your apartment as well. Vision Zero city planning aims to make streets. Other city planners have brought the issue of light to light. Are these skyscrapers putting us all in too much shadow?
Inside or out, the challenges of urban living will inspire new designers as we continue to pile into these growing swarming cities.