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
“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
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
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
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
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
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.”