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By 2050 we will be making smart, efficient, green living choices, both in the city and elsewhere. We will be sharing much of our space and using flexible construction systems to accommodate new lifestyles. All housing will be environmentally sustainable and all energy used will be renewable.

WHAT WILL OUR CITIES, TOWNS AND VILLAGES BE LIKE IN 2050?

By 2050 everyone will be living close to an attractive nature area. Heat-proof, healthy towns and cities will have more room for blue-green infrastructure. We will use the available space efficiently.

Blue-green infrastructure

By 2050 living in cities, towns and villages will be congenial for both people and animals. Blue-green infrastructure will ensure that the living environment is pleasant, sustainable and healthy for everyone. We will live no more than ten minutes’ walk from an attractive park with both greenery and water. Green areas with a lot of water will serve several functions, purifying the air, regulating temperature, providing a home for wildlife (including insects), relieving stress and reducing the risk of flooding.

Sustainable towns and cities

We will live in heat-proof towns and cities with good air quality. Rainwater will be partly collected, for use in homes for example, and will be slowly released back into the environment. There will be few car parks in the city and less traffic on the roads, so as to create space for blue-green infrastructure. Travel within urban areas will only be possible using environmentally-friendly means of transport. City centres will be completely car-free.

Smart use of space

By 2050 we will be making smart and efficient use of the available space, for instance by living in high-rise buildings, on water or in previously vacant properties. Our homes will be smaller, but we will have more space available to us because we will share space with others. Everyone will live in a home that suits their family, living and work situation. It will be easy to move into suitable housing and customary to swap homes, for instance for holidays.

HOW WILL WE BUILD OUR HOMES IN 2050?

By 2050 all existing housing will have been gradually made more sustainable and new homes will primarily be built to accommodate new lifestyles, using flexible construction systems. We will reuse or recycle all building materials, and energy consumption will be a major consideration when buying a new home.

Existing housing

By 2050 all housing built before 2050 will have been made more sustainable and will be energy neutral, including social housing and owner-occupied properties. Energy consumption will be greatly reduced and the energy still required will be generated sustainably. The process of making homes more sustainable will have proceeded at a gradual pace, with the occupants able to determine the timing and choose which measures to take. 

New builds

By 2050 new housing will be completely carbon neutral in terms of both construction and use. We will use only green energy, and all building materials will be made and transported with no impact on the environment. New homes will be built using exclusively circular building materials and the building process will be automated wherever possible. We will make every effort to site new homes within existing built-up areas. High-rise buildings will be erected in urban areas. This will ensure a healthy balance between the natural and the built environment. Housing will be used flexibly across different target groups to optimise its lifespan. New homes will primarily be built to accommodate new lifestyles, such as multi-generational households or cohousing groups. The use of flexible construction systems will mean that homes can easily be made smaller or larger or adapted in line with changing housing requirements. 

Use of materials

All raw materials will be reused or recycled, in both renovation and new-build projects. We will pay the true cost of high-quality materials, which will make reused materials cheaper than new products. Housing components will be designed to be dismantled easily. For example, it will be easy to remove windows, doors or floors from a residence without damaging them, so that they can be repaired, improved or reused in the same or another home. When building or renovating, the materials used will be entered into a materials database, giving builders and designers accurate information on what materials have been used where in a building and ensuring that they can easily be located and reused.

Buying a home

When purchasing a property, the buyer will always be informed about its energy consumption. Energy costs will therefore be a decisive factor for buyers, which will motivate property owners to make their homes as sustainable as possible. We will use financial products that promote sustainable housing, such as building-based financing. In addition, home renovation will offer opportunities to cater for changed housing needs, for instance by making lifetime home adaptations. In this way, everyone will live in a home that is comfortable and sustainable.

HOW WILL WE USE OUR HOMES IN 2050?

By 2050 we will own less space ourselves, but we will share more space with others and will reuse our home furnishings as much as possible. We will be energy-aware and all the energy we use will be truly green.

Sharing space

Owning a home will be a different experience by 2050, with the same room fulfilling more than one function (e.g. sleeping and studying). We will own less space of our own, and will share spaces that we do not need every day, for instance work rooms, laundry rooms, reception rooms for large parties or spare bedrooms to put up visitors. We will be able to arrange this with our fellow residents quickly and easily using apps. This will ensure that many more buildings and spaces are accessible to everyone.

Circular interior

We will reuse and repair our home furnishings as much as possible and pay-per-use schemes will be common. This means that we will pay for services such as lighting, heating or cooling on a subscription basis rather than buying lights or heating/cooling equipment ourselves. Manufacturers will still be the owners of their products, encouraging them to develop sustainable products with a long lifespan. There will be no household waste, because we will reuse materials as much as possible and recycle the rest.

Energy

By 2050 all the energy that is generated will be truly green, and not just on paper. Not much energy will be needed because our homes will be well insulated, and the appliances we use very energy-efficient. We will all be energy-aware. Thanks to smart sensors and apps, it will be easy for us to see exactly how much energy and water we are consuming at any given time, as well as which appliances are using the energy. We will store energy easily and cost-efficiently, for example in the transport and housing smart grid, so that sustainably generated energy will not need to be consumed immediately. Where possible, individual homes will be energy self-sufficient, but if this is not possible, it will be organised at district level.