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Homes for Good

Max Askwith
0 min read
The Homes for Good revolution is afoot. Homes for Good means looking beyond the utility and monetary value of the goods we purchase to also consider the cumulative impact of our consumption decisions on our communities, our personal health, our wellbeing, and our environment. This broader examination of lifestyles extends from the cities in which we reside to how our homes function, to the means by which products are delivered to us. It breaks with the view that negative externalities such as pollution are unavoidable evils of prosperity, and explores ways to embed goodness by design in our daily lives while supporting economic growth. For instance, in 2019 the New Zealand government introduced its first wellbeing budget which recognises that the success of the nation cannot be solely captured by short-term GDP variation, and needs to include the long-term impact of social and environmental policies as well.

When thinking of Homes for Good, the obvious first aspect to consider is the way our homes are built. According to the International Energy Agency, the residential sector accounts for 20% of final energy consumption. Cement production alone reportedly accounts for eight percent of global CO2 emissions each year. With growing urbanisation forecast over the next decade, city officials and architects are under pressure to make biodiversity a central supporting element for the wellbeing of city dwellers.

Milan Vertical Forest Turns 5, by Stefano Boeri Architetti

We also see increasing initiatives around how communal spaces are managed in high density residential areas, starting with making the most of existing infrastructure. In Paris, 95% of the venues selected for use during the 2024 Summer Games already exist or will be temporary. Paris is also actively repurposing its available underground space and rooftops into urban farms offering Parisians fresh produce with a low carbon footprint. Other initiatives centre around how we share inside spaces in tightly packed residential areas to nurture relationships. In Chengdu, China, the architects of the Youkong Living Room have reimagined shared spaces in buildings as buffer zones between urban spaces and homes, where residents can form a sense of community through social activities they wouldn’t be able to enjoy in their smaller apartment units. As one of the consequences of global lockdown has been greater social isolation for certain groups, we believe similar initiatives will be replicated in many cities on the long term.

Narrowing our focus to individual homes, we see consumers paying special attention to brands and products that improve physical and mental wellness inside their household. While this behaviour is not new, we expect it to accelerate as a consequence of the pandemic, with people being more aware of sanitation guidelines, and more attentive to the direct relationship between their environment and their health.

Yet, this increased scrutiny of products doesn’t stop at health considerations; it extends to entire product lifecycles. For many consumers, wellness is not complete without knowing that their consumption is not damaging the environment. Upcycling by design - the act of turning waste or abandoned products into new products of environmental value - is rapidly gaining traction. And for many people, a singular focus on sustainability is no longer enough to tackle climate change. They want to fill their homes with products that do not have a burdensome effect on the planet or the surrounding community and they expect brands to be climate positive by offsetting the emissions they create.

As consumers become increasingly conscious of how the products they bring into their homes are produced, transported, packaged and recycled, we expect they will choose brands and products that do good by design. To stay relevant on the long term, brands will have to earn their places in our eco-conscious spaces by demonstrating their values alongside their value.

This article is excerpted from the new Vizeum report Future of Home. Download it now for key insights on the trends shaping the home revolution.

Max Askwith

Global Digital & Innovation Director

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