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#tuesdaytrending: watch for shifts in 2018 urban design

Unlike the seemingly endless traffic jams and construction activities, cities and urban design don’t remain static. They’re ever-evolving and adapting to new challenges, pressures, and changes. Gensler has compiled a list of 6 urban design trends for 2018.

1 | Experience, Not Just Place 

#tuesdaytrending: watch for shifts in 2018 urban design | @meccinteriors | design bites
Helix Bridge, Singapore, is much more than just a pedestrian bridge. | © Christopher Frederick Jones

“Place-making,” once the watchword of every urban designer, is no longer enough. Now it’s all about experience—how buildings and the spaces between them are treated in relation to human-scale design. Developers are rediscovering the importance of leveraging authenticity and contextualism—“franchise architecture” and cookie-cutter designs are out.

2 | Retail Reinvention 

#tuesdaytrending: watch for shifts in 2018 urban design | @meccinteriors | design bites
Will digital windows begin to make their way into retail spaces that aren’t used for shopping?

No doubt 2017 was the year of retail upheaval… Amazon and online sales may be convenient scapegoats, but mergers and acquisitions, changing consumer habits, and the oversaturation of retail for the past few decades are also to blame. A day of reckoning was inevitable.

3 | Re-Greening 

#tuesdaytrending: watch for shifts in 2018 urban design | @meccinteriors | design bites
Gensler’s concept for the Brooklyn Queens Cross Line | © Gensler

Even with Frederick Law Olmstead’s influential “emerald necklace” park systems and major parks like New York’s Central Park, open space was all too often relegated to “left-over” or secondary space. No more.

4 | Re-Urbanizing 

#tuesdaytrending: watch for shifts in 2018 urban design | @meccinteriors | design bites
SkyCity Centre, Winnipeg is part of the reinvention of the city’s downtown.

Decades of suburban sprawl led to the creation of boring, single-use developments and empty downtowns. In response, many mixed-use projects sought to recreate familiar pre-World War II patterns, but these do not always respond to today’s consumer expectations.

5 | Future-Proofing 

#tuesdaytrending: watch for shifts in 2018 urban design | @meccinteriors | design bites
A Miami parking garage, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, moonlights as an event space that holds weddings, wine tastings, and even yoga. | photo: Iwan Baan Photography

All developers try to get as much use from a building as possible. But what happens to parking garages if demand decreases? Traffic engineers are projecting that the United States may have already reached “peak parking.” With rising popularity in shared car and on-demand ride services, car use may be levelling out, even before the arrival of self-driving cars.

6 | Food Halls

#tuesdaytrending: watch for shifts in 2018 urban design | @meccinteriors | design bites
City Point Brooklyn

A previous post addressed this rising trend in 2016. And while food halls have been around for centuries, last year saw a rekindling of interest in cities and suburbs. The food hall has become the next “must have.”