Could these be the homes of the future?

The Momentum UK Team 8 April 2014

We are living in an age that’s increasingly defined by advances in technology, from the way we communicate, to the food we eat and the homes we live in. As we’re talking housing this week, we’ve taken a look at what the place we call home might look like in the not too distant future…

Print your own house?

The seemingly endless possibilities of 3D printing have been hitting the headlines lately, with the futuristic machines having created meat, clothes and even human body parts! 3D printing has huge implications for virtually every industry, and housing is no exception; the world’s first 3D printed house is currently being built in Amsterdam. Hedwig Heinsman of Dus - the architects behind the project - said:

“With 3D-printing, there is zero waste, reduced transportation costs, and everything can be melted down and recycled. This could revolutionise how we make our cities.

“This is only the beginning, but there could be endless possibilities, from printing functional solutions locally in slums and disaster areas, to high-end hotel rooms that are individually customised and printed in marble dust.”

A similar project being run from the University of Southern California is using “contour crafting”, in which a 3D printer lays out concrete and interlocking steel bars. According to one of the professors working on the project, it could be possible to print a 2,500 square foot house in under 20 hours.

Although the project is still in its infancy, the potential implications are huge - will we see a time when we can all print our own, custom-designed houses?

Green cities

It is estimated that half the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, and one of the main challenges for architects and engineers is to make sure that these cities are sustainable and fit for purpose. A new report, “Cities Alive”, from the engineering and design consultancy Arup, outlines how the cities of the future could become more efficient by harnessing nature.

Lighting accounts for a large chunk of the energy used by a city, so the engineers and planners of the future will have to get creative. Materials that absorb light in the day and expel it at night could be used to light pathways; these glow in the dark paths are currently being trialled in Cambridge. Engineers are also beginning to tap into the power of bioluminescence, which is the ability of some plants and animals - usually deep sea creatures - to produce light. Genetic engineering could be used to create glow in the dark foliage, reducing the need for street lighting and making dark streets more accessible.One idea already beginning to take off is “vertical farming”, which is where crops and plants are grown all over the sides and roofs of tall buildings. If adopted on a mass scale, this could potentially help meet increasing demands for food, as well as improve the appearance and air quality of cities.

The future of housing is exciting and unknown territory. Whether you hope to be living in a 3D printed house or a vertical farm, Money Hub can help you put a plan in place to get there.