The city of the future – how Millennials will change the way we live

The question of what life will be like in the future has occupied mankind at all times. 

Digitisation is creating new opportunities in all areas of life, also with regard to living. How will the generation of digital natives, i.e. the first generation brought up during the age of internet, affect the city of the future? 

Puigcerdà - The city of the future – how Millennials will change the way we live

The apartment of the future

Millennials, in other words people born between 1980 and 2000, will influence the city of the future and how people will live. The so-called Generation Y is characterised by an enormous desire for flexibility. The average time of employment at a given employer is decreasing continuously. Many sources are even recommending regular workplace changes to forward the career. The maximum duration mentioned in this context is three years. Alternative work models and remote jobs - in other words the option to work from anywhere - are preferred.

In addition to workplace changes, a change of city of country is also commonplace. Due to this flexible lifestyle, this generation also requires a compatible environment that caters for these needs. Real estate expert Bernhard Berg expects that the average apartment size will shrink, as millennials buy less and more thoughtfully in order to facilitate their regular changes of location. In line with this trend: the practical YO!Home apartments, which are supposed to offer an enormous amount of storage space and usable area on only a few square metres.

The city of the future

Where should these small apartments of the next generation be located? According to real estate experts, urban agglomerations will become increasingly important. Millennials will be living in so-called quarters. These are districts that offer all the necessary facilities: living space, workplace, shopping, restaurants, bars and other recreational options. These quarters can be seen as smaller conurbations within the overall urban environment. One form of these miniature cities are modern and exclusive high-rise complexes and skyscrapers, which combine all of these features and thus offer a high concentration of residential space, commercial space and shopping facilities.

The priorities of Generation Y with regard to the workplace also play an important role in the architectural execution of the city of the future. Due to the increasing number of people working from home, freelancing or working part-time, and the increasing storage of data in electronic form instead of print, the demand for office space will decrease tremendously. The conventional office with all the usual equipment will possibly vanish altogether in the end.

But if the demand for office space drops and the ideal apartment is smaller that at present, this begs the question of what will happen to existing buildings. With the acute housing shortage in many metropolitan areas and popular city districts (e.g. in parts of London or Berlin, where the rent is increasing continuously), this type of flexible living and working may be the answer to many problems. If it is more effective than rent controls remains to be seen. 

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