Smart Salon: Designing for home life in 2030
We are spending more time at home than ever before, as technology has blurred the boundaries between how we live, work, and play. Looking forward to the year 2030, home life will likely be facing an even greater set of challenges. How can we start preparing now to anticipate the need of the future?
The Salon explored three new roles and possible Future States for the home as it becomes:
Instill dignity and flexibility
In the not-so-distant future, our time spent in the outside world may diminish, as we are forced to face the realities of climate change, the growth of personalized technology, and services that will deliver just about anything to our door. The home of the future may take on the role of a provider, taking care of our needs and remotely connecting us to activities and services.
Challenges & opportunites ideated in the workshop:
- Retain the idea of heirlooms in a future where we own less
- Create tech solutions that retain the warmth of the human connection
- Design products and services that will instill community and social cohesion
Ideally, this future state will allow for increased flexibility and control over what you do with your time. However, cognitive neuroscientist Araceli Camargo, who has studied the effects of climate change on the human psyche, noted that the home carries significant emotional resonance and we need to consider how to preserve psychological security, prevent isolation, and retain social cohesion as communities are displaced.
“Currently, the most significant threat to home is climate change. There is nothing more significant to a person’s development than the home—it is where you forge emotional bonds, it is where you first learn things. We need to think beyond just innovation and think about how we can bring dignity to people, not just a commodity or service.”
Araceli Camargo, Lab Director at The Centric Lab
Empower healthier lifestyle decisions
As science and technology continue to take leaps towards prolonging life, it is likely that health management will be one of the biggest areas of growth in the home in 2030. We know that people are aging better and staying in their homes longer, and with the rise of telemedicine and personalized health services, what will happen if our home becomes our caretaker?
Challenges & opportunities ideated in the workshop:
- Value aesthetics to keep the home from looking like a hospital
- Define the boundaries between directives and choices
- Be aware of the “spam effect” when giving constant advice
- Consider emotional wellbeing alongside physical needs
The benefit of the home serving as the guardian of our wellbeing has the potential to transition healthcare from supporting to evolving our lives. But as this omnipresent authority begins to intervene with our bodies and minds, it is important to consider how health extends beyond physical needs to emotional wellbeing. As we are seeing once-fantasy technology (such as ingestible pills that monitor you from the inside out) become available, MIT Design Lab Director Yihyun Lin believes that healthcare’s next evolution will be will be continuous and seamless care.
“We are moving from the era of where you had go to the hospital to get treated, to the more preventative methods being used currently, and now we are moving to predictive medicine that can monitor and alert you to changes in your health.”
Compromising between different generations
The home of the future may not only be able to take care of us individually, but will be able to moderate between people’s personal needs when living communally. Similarly to how we trust GPS to guide our route while driving, the home of the future may guide our decision-making and negotiation process in our individual lives and within our families. What would happen if our home has the ability to take a neutral stance when navigating divergent interests and shared experiences?
Challenges and opportunities ideated in the workshop:
- Demonstrate deep expertise while remaining subjective
- Bring some personality to neutrality to avoid decisions feeling sterile
- Value adaptability over singular functions
- Learn generational nuances to make everyone feel comfortable and understood
The need for moderation is becoming ever more apparent when looking at multi-generational homes, which are only expected to increase in the coming years. By understanding at the personality of current generations (such as the cognizant and connected Gen Z), consumer trend expert Tom Mirabile believes compromise and consent will be the most important elements to consider when predicting what each generation will need and value by 2030. The need for voluntary participation is crucial to living harmoniously in a home that is always adapting and compromising.
“As homes become more of a crowded house of interests and different personalities, how do we enable flexible transformation?”