Cities are epicenters of culture and ideas, and the engines of economic and social capital. As the global population continues to shift to urban areas, that growth comes with great challenges. Because of this, Gensler’s latest issue of Design Forecast is focused on the city. A collection of more than 200 trends, this issue discusses the role of design in creating the places where people live, work, and play in urban centers across the globe.
The best experiences anticipate people’s needs, tap into their emotions, and engage the senses. More than ever before, there is an opportunity to create a better world through people-centered design.
People are the one constant in this era of dramatic change. This historic confluence of change means that, as designers, we must rethink and reinvent how people experience every aspect of their lives and the places and spaces that they live in.
They forcast five global forces that are impacting businesses, cities, and human experience around the globe: unprecedented demographic shifts, technology-driven disruption, rapid urbanization, climate change, and global volatility.
1: DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFTS
Major changes to the world around us create new challenges, and design needs to evolve to be responsive to these pressures. Global migration, rising gender equality movements, and an aging population are forcing civic and business leaders to come together to improve the human experience.
2: TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN DISRUPTION
Technology is playing a bigger role in our daily lives as it becomes increasingly pervasive in places of work and leisure, and embedded in our buildings and cities. New technology is also disrupting traditional business and city planning models. Putting people first is critical to unlocking tech’s potential.
3: RAPID URBANIZATION
With over half of the world’s seven billion people living in urban areas today, the trajectory of cities will determine the trend lines of human experience across the globe. Smart cities could help us finally find solutions to the most difficult aspects of urbanization: crime, homelessness, elder care, child care, transportation, unemployment, disease, CO2, inequality, and resilience.
4: CLIMATE CHANGE
Design has a tremendous capacity to help create sustainable, resilient, and healthy communities. With more than two billion people poised to move to global cities by 2050, the demand for new buildings will rise—and the way we design, build, and operate them will be one of the determining factors in our global efforts to address climate change.
5: GLOBAL VOLATILITY
The economic and political orders that defined the past era are under pressures of change and adaptation, and so are our clients. Emerging regional disparities, often reactions to globalization, will underscore the importance of local relationships and design strategies. But even as economic powers evolve, the global economy continues to concentrate in metropolitan areas.
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