These technological upheavals are occurring just as science is beginning to probe more and more the deepest recesses of human understanding. For the first time, humanity is searching for internal answers in the microscopic and even in the abstract. Through advances in cognitive science, we are on the cusp of being able to know the exact bases for thought; meanwhile, we can now unlock the very genetic fabric of life. We understand the internal makeup of the human being as never before.
Yesterday’s future may not have come to pass exactly as initially imagined – there are, after all, no regular flights to the moon. But many of the technologies that were fanciful only a short time ago have become commonplace: the videophone, genetic engineering, and robotics, to name only a few. Because designers will be the primary interpreters of how we deal with these new technologies, both as objects and as integrated environments, they must evolve from form givers in ivory towers to become sensitive individuals who are fully cognizant of the changing shape of the world.
While the environments we will inhabit in the future are often imagined with beaming optimism, Interior design ideas for your home there is also a darker side that presents us with enormous challenges. There is the unfortunate reality: one-third of the global urban population still lives in slums – that’s a staggering 15 percent of the total world population.7 The explosion of slums is directly tied to increased urbanization, which to a large degree, was precipitated by the Industrial Revolution. The urban population of the world’s less developed countries is projected to double by 2050, while both the urban and total populations of the world’s most developed countries will have risen only very gradually, due to declining birth rates.8 Design will thus not only have to accommodate the process of design itself but also cope with an exponential growth, the global impact of population longevity, and the social imbalances of the future, all of which will bring new and diverse challenges and expose new needs.
Driven in part by need and the very makeup of human nature, our built world has increased in size, capability, and sophistication over the course of history. In parallel, our systems of living have become more integrated and interdependent. When we could no longer afford horizontal expansion, our buildings went up vertically. While monuments have existed since ancient times, such as the Egyptian pyramids, most were uninhabited and purpose-built for rituals or commemoration. In contrast, the development of industry and the related nineteenth-century population boom resulted in the earliest skyscrapers, which emerged out of necessity in the land-strapped areas of booming metropolises such as New York, Chicago, and London toward the end of the nineteenth century. Initially their height was hampered by the lack of development of suitable structural
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, the world’s tallest building at the time of publication. Designed by Adrian Smith and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 2009. At 2,717 feet (828 meters) tall, with 162 floors of mixed-use amenities, the building is home to (among other support functions) a hotel, residences, offices, and retail spaces. High-rises containing an assortment of mixed-use amenities are normal in contemporary urban settings and we know them as stand-alone buildings providing a higher density use of real estate. High-rise towers are predicted to be superseded by megastructures containing a myriad of functions such as farming, housing, universities and office complexes under one roof.
Technology, and concerns about fire safety.9 These early social and technological hurdles were overcome, and today’s largest and most sophisticated buildings have evolved from their singleuse ancestors into high-density, multifunctional superstructures that compete for the title of the tallest building on earth.