After the first exercise, the more I thought about the microfuture on flexibility and mobility, the more I realize there are many different branches in the concept I am exploring. First there is the idea of many functions embodied in one adaptable form and place. This relates to merging objects and environments of the same category into one, creating more efficient use of materials and space. Secondly there is the idea of things being made mobile and temporary, and objects and environments created with the intent that the experience they give and functions they perform will be permanent, but not so much their form.
Both of the above practices are currently more exclusive to the elites: multi-functional products are usually considered “fancier” — film and still cameras with wifi and can sync with smartphones, totes that can be reversed into backpacks, etc; in terms of environments, building walls that allow large studio spaces to be converted into smaller rooms still costs a hefty amount. Making things adaptable and versatile is currently considered desirable, “high-tech” and smart.
Similarly, in today’s society, travelling is considered a luxury and a sign of wealth in both financial and cultural capital. If one moves around a lot (whether for vacation or work), most likely one is considered more well off. To be able to afford to own things or create environments that are often temporary (where its “essence”/purpose is more valued than the thing/environment itself) implies that one has the excess resources to recreate the thing/environment in the future as one moves.
There is also the consideration of this manifesting in products and distinct entities, or in an urban scale in cities and societies. I am more interested in the latter, especially also in how the way humans relate to place is changing.
There is also more similarities in places (cities) that do not share geographic proximity.
Envisioned near future
Cities have designated areas for permanent vs temporary living, strict borders and divisions
Culture is not based on any geographic factors (apart from climate)
In “permanent areas” people try to preserve the past local culture in that areas — fear of contamination, not allowed to move in and out generally
Eventually, travelling becomes cheap, easily accessible and environments are conveniently mobile that most people can afford to move
Envisioned further future
The trend flips, since so many people decide to move around, more and more want to show status by staying “permanent” and dedicate themselves to the preservation of “localness”
Travelling for vacation (instead of change of residence) becomes obsolete
Segregation by livelihood of the two “types” of people, eventually leading to a formation of a new nation
Side effects / side shows
Changes in fundamental values
what is considered a “desirable” lifestyle
what “culture” means
Changes in social structures and culture
homogenous aesthetics and way of living
more division among social classes
Changes in environments
mobile environments, less attention to longevity and details
Role of designer
How this new cultural / social phenomenon is framed in media, literature and the arts will be dependent on the designers. Designers also need to create mental models and tools to help people adjust and transition into this new lifestyle.
subject to so many changes! I’d imagine this will be a sort of “bubble” that will burst and the current status quo will be reset.