Future families

A concrete start for the next project at UID: Faceless Interactions in the Home of 2035. No screens, design fictions and about usefulness, seam-fulness and other concepts that started to become more and more complex in our head. On top of that, it's the test-thesis or "How organised can you be working alone".

I've decided to look into how families and homes are COMMONLY represented by the icon of a dwelling. What if the physical location no longer matters? How do you represent a family that doesn't live together?

My work started by report analysis and an immense amount of books that can relate (or not) to what I want to build/demonstrate in the end. Designing futures is an interesting approach, after all we never get to design context and see how products fit (is usually the other way around).

I've found a graph on the OECD report that predicted societal trends for 2030 based on economical growth or speed to adopt technology. For each quadrant there was a definition, varying from the utopian "Golden Age" to a dystopian "Back to Basics" society. My exercise was to place how I perceive our current society in relation to what it could be transformed. To me the predictions were optimistic enough to offer a "Sustainable Growth" approach but I've decided to be even more optimistic on my design fiction.

 

The society today, "Innovative but fragmented".

 

Even if the Golden Age of society seemed more appealing from the start, I decided to explore other scenarios. I've focused on Families Constellations, Workforce (age and qualification), Longevity, Settlements and Digital Literacy.

 

By the end I've decided to focus on the "Golden Age" anyways. I'm interesting in explore how artefacts can influence the family relation and for that I'm not including any strong dystopian incidents. Setting up my characters to failure somehow felt wrong. In more details, the Golden Age is defined by:

  • Future Physical Solitude: small households with a maximum of 2 people. Families are also small, but the increase of population makes the concept of tiny individual houses more common.
  • Highly Qualified Workforce: There are decreases of younger population on most of the today's economically powerful countries. To deal with that, society starts sending children to school even earlier, the youth has to study and work at the same time in order to fill the gap.
  • Active Elderly Population: The combination of a positive balance on job offers, medical advances and increased longevity is a professionally active elderly population. Most of the people over 60 years old will still be working and valued as experienced.
  • Stimulated Economic Migration: To better manage the qualified youth was created the List. There, a young professional can sign up and receive offers from around the world, this way intellectual resources can be better distributed amongst the countries.
  • Extensive Digital Literacy: After many years of technological exploration, digital technologies are now a public concern and the careful use of it is perceived as a matter of public health.

With this perspective in mind I've decided to work on a concept of "Home Network". Not in a social media sense, but exploring how people forced to live in different places can still interact and add a family feeling to their physical houses.