> posted by   on December 2nd 2013

The way we live now

Last year the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) published in cooperation with Ipsos MORI, one of the UK’s leading research companies, a report titled ‘The Way we live now: What people need and expect from their homes’. This report is a ground-breaking piece of research that provides the only British evidence base setting out how people are using their homes today, what they are looking for when choosing a home and what they think needs to happen to improve the home-buying experience. The report, the first of its kind for over 50 years, will be used as evidence by the Future Homes Commission, a UK inquiry that is currently developing recommendations for how houses should be designed and delivered in future.


This report also will provide policy makers, house designers and builders much-needed consumer evidence to ensure that new homes are good quality and fit for modern households.


The eight key features that people need and want from their homes today, as revealed by this report, are:

1. Long-term and short-term storage for functional items, and for personal possessions people have chosen to keep during their lives.

Above image: Luc Vincent


2. Dedicated space for domestic utility tasks, such as vacuum cleaners, washing, drying and ironing clothes as well as storing rubbish and recycling.

Above image: Chattanooga Garage Storage


3. Large windows for natural light, large rooms and high ceilings – these are typically referred to as ‘period features’. A ‘sense of space’ is vital to people’s wellbeing, and expectations of a new home are often shaped by the homes we have lived in previously.

Above image: www.mediaty.com


4.  Large main living area – for social functions such as eating and entertaining and relaxing. People typically prefer to have an element of open-plan layout to accommodate entertaining friends or family, regardless of age or lifestyle.

Above: Concept by Fisher&Paykel


5. Layouts which take into account technology used within the home – we want our homes to have enough sockets and storage for technology to enable us to arrange furniture and rooms in different layouts.

Above: Mainline Power


6. Space for private time away from other members of the household – across all age groups, and especially where generations live together, private space makes an important contribution to our sense of wellbeing within our homes. Noise reduction within and between households is also essential.

Above: AQUA DOME Wellness Hotel, Austria


7. Private space outside or access to green public space in urban locations – this is important for wellbeing for all, and particularly crucial for families; parents like a safe place for children to play outside.

Above: JCDecaux, design by Mathieu Lehanneur


8. Options for different home layouts. Despite some universal needs such as flexible space to entertain and socialise, there were different needs and expectations according to the life stage or the size and age of households and families, which meant that there was no single, standard layout that would cater for all people.

Above: Woonbeurs 2013, Amsterdam


You can download the full PDF report here.



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