Design Forecast® contains the advice, research, and ideas that our clients need to know right now. These eight trends are what we see as the most important signals and key opportunities in the building industry today.
Now more than ever before, people are craving phenomenal, visceral, and connected experiences in every part of their lives, whether that’s in a workplace that feels like a clubhouse or a sports stadium that anchors a vibrant, 24/7 mixed-use entertainment district. In 2024, real estate leaders will find success reclaiming human connection with “experience multipliers”: immersive designs that drive loyalty, boost sales, and improve vibrancy with a shared sense of inspiration and belonging.
Fifth + Broadway, Nashville, Brookfield Properties (OliverMcMillan) This vibrant and walkable mixed-use district has re-energized downtown Nashville.
Conversions resurrect stranded assets.
Office-to-residential conversions and other creative repositioning will represent a new value proposition for the building industry: transforming under-performing office buildings into housing and addressing a vital need for new residential options in cities. As organizations seek out fully amenitized, recently built projects, this “flight to quality” is stranding under-capitalized and unoccupied B and C buildings in urban cores around the world. In 2024, expect more government municipalities to incentivize adaptive reuse strategies and conversions whose renovations breathe new life into cities and offer vital infrastructure enhancements — and do it in an environmentally responsible way.
Sustainable design becomes a non-negotiable.
As intense weather and climate change assail the built environment, sustainable design shifts from an option to an obligation. By 2024, the building and real estate industries around the world will recognize the value of environmentally conscious design and its ability to mitigate risk. Higher standards for products and materials, the adaptive reuse of existing buildings, net zero energy strategies, and regenerative design principles will define our sustainable future.
IN: The future of the workplace as a compelling destination.
OUT: Return to office metrics.
As more organizations understand that the workplace landscape has permanently changed, the focus will shift less on how many people come into the office and more on what the future of work looks like to support their people’s needs. In 2024, organizations will continue to plan for in-person experiences in spaces that are agile and flexible enough to evolve with the changing demands of the workforce and useful enough to earn people’s commutes.
167 N Green Street, Chicago, Shapack Partners & Focus This office development in Chicago’s West Loop offers a variety of workspaces and a vast tenant amenity package.
Mixed-use lifestyle districts bring cities back to life.
Monolithic, office-focused downtowns have become a thing of the past, replaced by vibrant, experience-driven social districts that are focused on a mixed-use collection of retail, entertainment, sports, housing, and other lifestyle-anchored developments. By prioritizing safety and mobility in these new multimodal districts, cities can attract residents and tourists and bring COVID-impacted neighborhoods back to life.
Harborplace Master Plan, Baltimore This project reimagines an historic site in the heart of the city with attainable housing, restaurants, retail, and entertainment.
Designers harness AI to accelerate ideas and innovation.
In 2024, AI will open the door to new ideas, new talent, and new creative opportunities. Far from replacing designers, AI will become a collaboration tool that will help designers redefine the design and innovation process with new insights, rapid iterations, and more immediate response times. Buildings and spaces designed with the help of AI will be more sustainable, better performing, and more responsive to individual needs and preferences.
Focus shifts to ageless communities and design for a lifetime.
Over the past 50 years, the average life expectancy for people around the world has expanded by more than 10 years, a figure that will only grow in the coming decades. With the global trend toward increased longevity, 2024 will mark a shift toward designing age-inclusive communities. Demand for flexible and multigenerational communities that foster accessibility and affordability will have universal appeal.
20-minute cities become archetypes of equity and accessibility.
As city leaders seek out design strategies to help them enhance their central business districts to be more lifestyle-oriented, the idea of the 20-minute city remains increasingly attractive. These vibrant, walkable neighborhoods, where all essentials lie within a 20-minute reach — including restaurants, retail spaces, medical facilities, educational places, and much-needed residential alternatives — are redefining city living. This trend underscores the importance of creating accessible, inclusive urban spaces that promote equity, connectivity, and community.
Lower Hill District Mixed-Use Redevelopment, Pittsburgh This urban revitalization and mixed-use master plan would create an accessible and equitable neighborhood in an historic part of Pittsburgh.