Each new year brings new opportunities for change, and urban city design is no exception. As we put 2020 behind us and look ahead to 2021, city skylines are bound to keep evolving. As cutting-edge technologies and philosophies come into shape, 2021 will be a year of continuous growth and adjustment for cities worldwide.
Professionals in the commercial property management industry owe it to themselves to stay on top of the world’s changes, so with that in mind, here five urban design trends that will define this year:
1. The Renewable Revolution Continues
Renewable energy is getting more widespread and popular with each passing year, and that will continue in 2021. Expect to see urban areas adopting electricity as their primary energy source for transportation, with everything from scooters to buses leaving fossil fuels behind in favor of more sustainable options.
As metropolitan areas around the globe work to reduce their emissions, many cities are expected to revolutionize their infrastructure and design to focus on renewability.
2. Changing Transportation
The transportation sector took a significant blow in 2020. The industry saw stark ridership declines while wrestling with how to protect the health of workers and passengers alike. However, as the world resets itself in 2021, transportation is primed to adapt.
While cities used to take a standardized approach to public transit, many are rethinking that style and instead personalizing their transportation routes and strategies to each community’s needs. Each urban area will likely end up with a more unique system, ultimately serving its community better. Roads and infrastructure will also receive upgrades in order to keep up with the changes.
3. Flexibility and Mobility
As much of the world ceased commuting in 2020, many have taken to outdoor activities like biking. Cities are responding to this shift by rearranging themselves to be more outdoor-friendly. Many are developing more green areas, such as public parks and gardens, while others are doubling down on convenient biking lanes that make things easy for cyclists.
4. An Emphasis on Convenience and Connection
One recent concept that has made waves in the urban design field in recent years is the “fifteen-minute city,” an urban community where residents can live, work, and play within a fifteen-minute walking distance from home. After 2020 forced urban residents to be flexible in how they live and work, 2021 will be the perfect year to put this design philosophy into practice.
From Paris, France to Portland, Oregon, cities around the globe are experimenting with arranging their communities to maximize convenience. Everything from architecture to commerce will change radically as this plan gets put into place, and the results will be exciting to see.
5. COVID-19 Will Leave Its Mark
The COVID-19 pandemic was the defining event of 2020, and while efforts to keep the virus under control are well underway, it will still be a significant presence throughout 2021. With this in mind, many cities will retrofit their buildings to protect residents and accommodate public health guidance.
Urban planners are making public health and safety a top priority, which will be reflected in cityscapes throughout the year. For example, many facilities may be fitted out with superior HVAC systems for improved air circulation. Office spaces will likely also be redesigned to allow for social distancing.
2020 was a year of perseverance, and going forward, 2021 looks to be a year of adaptation. Watch out for these five trends as the world’s major cities reinvent themselves throughout the year.