We’re rapidly approaching the end of our current decade. As we enter the 2020s, we’re looking to the future; not next year, but to ten years’ time. What will the world be like in 2030?
This time, we’re considering how our homes could change over the next ten years. There’s an increased demand for housing as our population grows and the housing we do have is getting more expensive. Are there any changes on the horizon that could help alleviate these problems? Benjamin Davis, CEO of Octopus Real Estate, gives us his answer and tells us how he thinks we’ll be living in 2030.
Our homes will look after us
In 2030, technology will enable our homes to be more intelligent so they can automatically look after us. Entire households will be fully integrated with tech to make our lives easier and safer. Some elements are available now, like Nest home thermometers or plugs that can be controlled by your Google Home or Alexa. But nothing brings all these devices together into one seamless automated experience, and that’s what I see changing by 2030.
Some technologies which are used in very specialised circumstances today could be seen much more widely in ten years. For example, in housing for the elderly, motion and pressure sensors are used to alert staff to potential problems. For instance, a sensor could trigger if a person falls or if the fridge hasn’t been opened for twelve hours. The same can be applied to the bathroom door or the back door, and so on.
Fast forward to 2030, and I see this kind of technology joining the automated smart home. Not only will your home intuitively know when to turn the heating on, set the alarm or dim the lights, it will be looking out for you too. It will let you know if you’ve left the hob on, left the front door open or if your teenager is home alone and something is amiss. It could even call the authorities if it notices a problem before you do.
Time taken to buy and sell houses will be cut in half
The digitisation of property records could cut the time it takes to buy and sell houses in half by 2030. All the paperwork you need to carry out a property transaction could be stored digitally – possibly using blockchain. Using this technology allows greater security, getting us to a place where all information would be 100% accurate and proven. This would mean no chasing around to validate ownership or security claims.
Having one digital secure, trusted and authenticated space for property information would make the whole house buying/selling process run a lot more smoothly for everyone involved. It would be cheaper too, if you think about legal fees and so on. It would be a big undertaking to reach this kind of system, but it really would be revolutionary. And it’s definitely achievable by 2030.
Modular homes will make house building much quicker
The perception of modular homes in the UK is reminiscent of 1940s prefabs, but the technology has moved on a lot since then. Building homes in modules, i.e. building each room separately then delivering them to site to be put together into a complete house, is an incredibly efficient option. By 2030, I can see a lot more home development being done like this.
When 90% of the work is done offsite, build time is dramatically reduced. A traditional project to build houses in a city could take 18 months on site, with contractors travelling in and out every single day. The modular version of the project could take half as much time. The contractors would work to build each room in factories outside of town. The only work to do on site would be groundworks, assembly of the houses and final touches.
The environment would benefit greatly too. There would be a massive decrease in transport emissions, given the reduced visits to site with raw materials and a more efficient factory environment. There would also be significantly less waste produced.
Retirement communities will be a choice for everyone
By 2030 we will see many, many more retirement communities across the UK. Retirement communities are made up of apartments and communal facilities. These range from anything like pubs, restaurants and greenhouses to spas, pools and personal assistants. There could be organised community activities like nature walks, gym classes or book clubs, and there will be on site care available if residents need. In contrast to care home residents, who generally move to the care homes out of necessity, retirement community residents choose to buy into the lifestyle. Usually, they’re around mid-seventies and are living active lives.
Right now there are a few retirement communities like this in the UK, but I see that changing. More of these residences will develop to meet the demands of our growing population, and there will be options for all budgets (including subsidised retirement communities).
Co-living will reduce loneliness and make better use of space
By 2030, co-living will be a much bigger part of the way we live in the UK. Instead of everyone having their own kitchen/living area within an apartment building, these spaces are all combined and used for communal facilities. You have your own bedroom and bathroom, plus you have access to a communal kitchen, dining area, bar, pool, gym, cinema, etc.
Living communally can have an incredibly positive impact on loneliness and social isolation. Additionally, co-living is a much more efficient use of space, giving more people access to higher-quality housing. Residents can use facilities they wouldn’t normally be able to afford to have in their home too – how many of us have a pool or cinema in our house right now? Because of this, co-living is a great answer to the problem of housing shortage, and I think we’ll see plenty of these spaces popping up around the UK over the next ten years.
Next up in the 2030 series, we’ll be taking a look at the future of renewable energy and how we will use it in our homes.