The ideal home has become cleaner, greener, and airier. Urban life and commuting distances are less important than they were. In fact, 31% of people say it’s now more important to live closer to family and friends. People are thinking about a healthier, happier future – for themselves, their families, and the world around them.
IKEA Life at Home Report 2021
In the Future We Will Design With Nature
Global Sustainability Insights and Innovation Leader, IKEA Retail (Ingka Group)
“The moment humans leave, nature will come back to cities. It will break the concrete and rewild our urban spaces,” Ludvig says. Although we’ve built our cities “by fighting nature, we cannot ‘safe-proof’ them against extreme weather events.” Ludvig believes the day will come when we collectively stop fighting nature and instead embrace it. And that day will create a paradigm shift in the way we approach urban living. “We need to invite nature in. Learn from it and design with it.”
Learning that urban life has become less important and that people want to live in homes that are cleaner, greener, and airier, Ludvig feels optimistic. In this trend he sees the possible manifestation of a solarpunk future, which envisions what a sustainable civilization looks like, living in harmony with nature. It has inspired a lot of Ludvig’s work. Working with insights and foresight, he is on a mission to create a “radically optimistic people- and planet-positive future.” In the volatile and uncertain world that we live in, sustaining a positive future vision requires radical collective imagination and action.
The 2021 Climate Action Research, on which Ludvig has also been working, indicates that 87% of people surveyed are willing to take action to tackle climate change. This willingness, together with a positive vision of the future, may shift us into acting more like nature – “giving back more than we take. That suggests a future that is regenerative.”
In this future, humans are part of co-developing planetary systems, integral urban systems will need to become circular and regenerative by design. “Decentralised energy production, water supply networks, food production and distribution: essentially we will need to organise ourselves more locally, to live in smaller communities.”
An adventurer and a believer that “life gets just better”, as the father of “three small teachers”, he believes that human imagination, storytelling, have helped humans make leaps in the past towards a better future and will help do so for future generations.
For Finns, Traditional Living Is The Way Forward
Consumer and Customer Insights Manager, IKEA Retail Finland
“This year’s report confirmed my view that people in Finland really build homes for themselves and our wishes for our future living are actually very traditional,” says Heidi. Having more space as well as being closer to nature and to their families and communities is how Finns lived in the past. And they still maintain their own space – the average f loor area per person has grown every year, but in 2020 over 45% of households in Finland were one-person only. “What if not so much actually changes, and what has been considered ‘traditional’ is reworked to become the ‘new normal’?”
One in five Finns said living in a suburban environment but near a city has increased in importance in the past 12 months. Greater Helsinki saw less than half the number of people moving there in 2020 than in 2019, and migration loss was historically high in Espoo, the second largest city. Heidi is confident that as many people “moved from autopilot living to living more with intent”, they became more conscious of where they spend their time and with whom. Togetherness in Finland is often experienced more through shared interests than through shared space.
Time spent inside for Finns has been their sauma (not sauna!) – a window of opportunity – to become happier with their life at home. “Our homes really [set] the bar quite high. We don’t want to leave the house for anything that is not perceived as meaningful!”