What housing means in the “sharing economy” era: the answer of MADE Expo Outlook

Modern housing has taken a rather clear direction, spanning from social housing to the new systems of housing sharing, with the latter increasingly visible in city and global contexts. How will houses - and living spaces in general - be shaped in the era of sharing economy? The MADE Expo Outlook - a new research lab set up by the Milan architecture and building biennial exhibition MADE EXPO, scheduled this year from 8th to 11th March at Rho Milano Fiera -  has recently answered this question, submitting a close examination on latest issues and rising trends.

Keywords like “co-working” and “co-living” lay the groundwork for the overview, as they don’t stand for merely fleeting trends but give evidence of new flexibility-oriented professional roles: suffice it to say that between 2006 and 2012 co-working spaces grew from 30 to 2000.

In view of these new requirements privates, builders and developers have started to invest in designing multifunctional building or in redeveloping old ones, both of them characterized by a combination of public and private spaces, a smarter management model and a particular focus on ecologic sustainability.

The survey brings the case of the requalification of the ex Funana DigitaLife Mall in Singapore, which takes off from these assumptions to provide every follower of a green lifestyle with a comprehensive experience. The building, designed by the international company Woods Bagot, includes shops, restaurants, housings, offices, cinemas, a urban farm and sport equipment. It has been designed to promote a concept of sustainable urban mobility and healthy lifestyle. The whole edifice, in fact, is cyclist-friendly in what concerns accessibility, use of spaces and dedicated services.

Moreover in Malmö, Sweden, the Hauschild + Siegel firm is working for the developer Cykelhuset Ohboy on a residential building purposefully designed for people using bikes to move across the city.

Similarly, multi-functionality has its share, being a broad concept according to which reinvent environments means, among other things, make them versatile and multi-use. Indeed, the gradual blurring of boundaries between different life aspects is consolidating the winning formula of a mixed-use building. Recently realized in Lille by JDS Architects, the Maison Stéphane Hessel for example includes a nursery, a hostel and a working space for social innovation.

Last but not least, the issue of energy saving: future residents of a building are expected to be increasingly close to the other citizens and gradually more inclined to become less energy-intensive users, allowing for lower maintenance and management costs.