It’s projected that by 2050, approximately 70% of humans on planet Earth will live in urban centers. While you might find this disconcerting, it’s actually promising news. Urban dwellers have a smaller carbon footprint than the average citizen and an influx of humans represents an opportunity to explore new forms of social arrangement. More people (particles) = more multiplicity (eh… entropy), but within that larger set of possible states exist a few that are much improved when compared with the current state of human existence.
Alright that’s fine, but where/how are all of these people going to live?
That’s the question we’re attempting to answer at Basic. Here’s our top secret road map.
Stage 1: Innovate within the context of traditional spaces
We’re small (currently two engineers… shh don’t tell anyone) so we need to start in a proportionally small way. Our first project will involve converting a traditional property (2 bedroom loft) into an Basic inspired living space. The seed of this idea has already been done in what are known as Hacker Houses. After staying at four different spaces like this, the first observation is that there’s something magical about a community of smart people living together (maybe the hippies were onto something). That said, they’re dirty, unprofessionally ran and the glaring issue… bunk beds suck.
So the first step is to design and build sleeping pods that feel more like private rooms (see hostels in Asia and Europe) and less like military barracks.
These structures will drastically improve the living experience. The next step involves systematizing the living experience itself via smart functionality. Most things will take place via a mobile app that acts like a housing AI. The space will also be designed with collaboration and community building as a key constraint. Think co-living space meets maker space (3D printers, hardware tools, white boards, etc.)
Alright, that’s stage 1 (for the most part). We’ll have our first Basic living space up and running within a few weeks. This stage will last several months as we recreate these small spaces across the Bay Area. They will serve to build our community and improve processes/infrastructure. Thinking in Darwinian terms… single celled organism to multi cellular organisms to.. crazy hairless apes that write blog posts.
Like that other cool company, this stage will be low volume, higher prices for our initial members.
Stage 2: Innovate within the context of non-traditional spaces
Along the lines of Bjarke Ingels thinking, the next stage will be to scale up our endeavor by repurposing industrial infrastructure (mainly large warehouse spaces).
Within these spaces, we’ll be able to build more intense versions of what we built in stage 1. These structures will take on more complex form, with the benefit of being housed inside a larger building (like a brain inside a skull). Depending on the size of warehouse, we’re planning on between 50–100 humans living in these spaces. These structures will be more like living inside of a robot/machine… monitoring your sleep, reconfiguring itself, etc.
As you guessed, this is the medium volume, medium price phase.
Stage 3: Innovate within the context of newly designed spaces
At this point, we’ll have a network of several hundred members and properties of various shapes and sizes. Stage 2 involved building large structures within existing industrial infrastructure, but now we must contend with the outdoor elements. We have a few design thoughts on these structures, but needless to say they will be completely novel and informed by stage 1/2. Hey, maybe we’ll even build one on the Ocean.
Note* — We’re not so naive to think that affordable housing can be solved with a cool design.. it’s about reformulating what constitutes housing. Does every single person need their own kitchen/shower/etc. — probably not. We think housing will start looking much more like living on the Star Ship Enterprise and less like McMansion meets futuristic design.
Well that’s our secret plan, don’t tell anyone.
Shout out to our intellectual fore fathers: Buckminster Fuler, Bjarke Ingels, Norman Foster and James Lovelock (to name a few).
Edit: Maybe this is all for nothing. Moving to Detroit might make more sense.