Panel: New Forms, New Functions, New Options: How Technology Enables New Models For Housing

  • Speakers:
    Tatiana Bilbao, Principal, Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO
    Yonatan Cohen, Partner, Architecture, Mosaic
    Steffan Jones, Vice President, Innovation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
    Amaury Lamarche, Chief Platform Officer – Smart Home, ENGIE
    Marianthi Tatari, Associate Director & Senior Architect, UNStudio
  • Moderator:
    Greg Lindsay, Director of Applied Research, NewCities

5 Key Takeaways

  • 1. A participatory, and inclusive development model allows technology to improve quality of life. As Marianthi Tatari explains, the Brainport Smart District Project uses a masterplan which acts as a design and governance system to promote shared responsibility. The inclusive model, involves residents from the beginning, giving them voting power on decisions in the plan. With the consent of future residents they will be collecting data from the built environment, to assess wellbeing and quality of life.
  • 2. Technology allows the practice of homebuilding to move past the prototype, and to the needs of the individual. Rethinking the role of the architect as part of a system that includes the individual, community, and environment. Empowering the individual in the process to conceive and design their own living space through tools such as modular homes, 3D printing, AI and machine learning. Tech Startup Mosaic, is using machine learning to read blueprints and turn algorithms into step-by-step worksheets to make the construction industry more inclusive.
  • 3. Networks of alliances and collaborative financing models are key to scaling up new projects. This sentiment was unanimous across the panel. As Amaury Lamarche explains, an ecosystem of partnerships with different types of players is key. This will be essential to scaling up projects as well. Technology cannot innovate itself out of the housing crisis, it must be supported by the rest of the system.
  • 4. Codes and standard innovation will have to be more flexible, and allow new standards to a very traditional system to get modular housing out there. Tatiana Bilbao explains from her project in Mexico, that codes will have to be more flexible to the individuality of each place.
  • 5. Financial innovations models. There are currently many barriers to money flowing towards new forms of design, 3D printed, and modular housing. Steffan Jones and Amaury both agree we must improve the return on investment if we want money to flow there naturally. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is using digital technologies to unlock these redundancies and placing competition in the private market to drive alternative financing models.

Featured photo by Christopher Lin on Unsplash