Gensler Design Forecast 2016
An exploration of factors that are likely to transform everyday life in ways that reshape its design
and experience.
IN 2025
An exploration of factors that are likely to transform everyday life in ways that reshape its design and experience.

We always look forward.
For 2016’s Design Forecast, we challenged ourselves to look out 10 years.

Design shapes the future of human experience to create a better world. This credo is the basis of our Design Forecast. For 2016, we asked our global teams to consider how people will live, work, and play in the cities of 2025. Their insights will give our clients an insider view of the issues design will confront in the next decade.

Finding opportunities requires insight and imagination. Our newly opened Shanghai Tower speaks to how we help our clients reframe the present to meet the needs of tomorrow. Design is how we do it. It makes insight actionable, creates meaningful innovation, and calls a thriving future into being.

Diane Hoskins
Diane Hoskins

Andy Cohen
Andy Cohen


Metatrends shaping the world of 2025.

Led by our global sector leaders, our 31 practice areas contributed their expertise and market insights to look out a decade. Their yearlong effort identified six metatrends that will transform how we work, live, and play in the cities of 2025.

our iHumanity.

Digital will be such an integral part of daily life that we’ll leverage it much more fully. We’ll accept how it interacts with us, consciously feeding its data streams to make our lives better. Our iHumanity will be a shared, global phenomenon, but different locales and generations will give it their own spin.

“smarter lives.”

We’ll live in a “made” environment, not just a “built” one. Buildings, settings, and products will integrate connectivity and “know” that we’re present. Most aspects of our everyday lives will reflect this, enabling us to make real-time, just-in-time connections to people, places, goods, and services.

Designing both time and space.

Designing both time and space.

Hungry for experience and hooked on ultra-convenience, we won’t tolerate “dead time,” whether it’s long commutes, less-than-seamless transactions, or places devoid of interest. Design will reflect the reality that people will expect everything to justify their time commitment.


Resilience gets scale.

In times of disruption, cities bear the brunt— disasters, epidemics, and security threats. They will take the lead in managing this, but citizens will play a role, armed with data and a mindset tuned to wellness, safety, and resilience. Smart cities will engage them and give their local efforts scale.

not just

Urbanity creates an abundance of human networks to drive urban economies. To support new lifestyles, real estate will innovate its forms and means. Walkable, transitserved hubs that offer a rich, dense mix will absorb new growth. Many of them will be in former suburbs.

Cities as

Look for the emergence of neoindustrial cities that support thriving digital/artisanal maker cultures. Consumers will expect to co-create the goods and services they purchase. Makers—including freelancers and robots—will look to cities to provide tools and settings to speed innovation.

For a closer look at how these metatrends will impact the way we live, work and play, see the following sections.


Community Forecast
Contemporary life’s disruption and opportunity is the working agenda for cities and their community-facing institutions and infrastructure.

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Community Forecast


Workplace Forecast
Liberated from old constraints, prepared to go where its talents are best supported, an urban workforce will reshape work and its settings.

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Workplace Forecast


Lifestyle Forecast
Tech integration and fast-changing media play to Leisure’s emphasis on experience. Keeping it real, seamless, and profitable are challenges.

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Lifestyle Forecast

Design Forecast


Design Update