Remote & Mobile Housing
Aside from the trend toward coliving, digital nomadism is also leading many independent workers to consider remote and/or mobile housing. Regarding remote trends, the pandemic inspired many move out of cities and toward suburbs and the countryside. A report at The Local cited 59% of Île-de-France inhabitants wishing to live somewhere less stressful following lockdowns, and the same percentage mentioned a desire to be closer to nature. Similar sentiments have been echoed across much of the world.
While many are leaving the cities are buying up suburban or countryside homes, this trend of migration has also coincided with a rise in mobile home-usage. Various reports have indicated that the RV business is thriving as people look for more flexible, untethered living arrangements (though the quality of RV camps is inconsistent, and some are more conducive to work than others).
While the previous two points concern working and living situations, there are also changes in how people conduct themselves. For one thing, young people have also become increasingly aware of how a large part of the population has to deal with unfair working conditions, as well as limited access to basic needs like education and healthcare; income inequality has also become more visible. However, Fareed Zakaria’s book “Ten Lessons For A Post-Pandemic World” suggests that the pandemic has also given us opportunities to change things like these for the better, and produce a more equal, empathetic society. And it’s in this vein that we’ve seen people adopting more generous lifestyles: Young people have driven movements for social change throughout the pandemic, and CNBC reported even early in the pandemic that 3 in 4 millennials had donated money. These trends suggest a move toward more equality-driven living.
While technology made it possible for people to stay connected during lockdowns, it also helped to demonstrate the limitations of digital-only social interactions. Sources from the hit streaming special “Inside” by Bo Burnham to Buzzfeed News articles quoting mental health experts have helped to highlight young people’s growing discomfort with fully digital social lives. And as a result, we’re seeing young people emerging from the pandemic pointedly prioritizing in-person social activity –– somewhat ironic in what is supposed to be the age of the metaverse. This is not to say that young people are surrendering social media or digital tools by any means. But they are making a point of recognizing and valuing human-to-human connection.
As this trend solidifies, it is also important to mention that government entities and urban planners have a responsibility to accommodate it. One of the few heartwarming aspects of the pandemic at its worst was that we did see major cities around the western world reorganizing and redistributing space –– providing more biking paths, wider walking avenues, and large spaces for safe outdoor dining. And in some cases, there have been indications that these changes will be permanent, or at least inspire long-term changes; for instance, a write-up at Forbes details plans for some 650 kilometres of cycling space to be built into Paris, in part at the expense of sidewalk parking spaces. This is only one example, but it speaks to how the growing preference for “in-person living” needs to be supported by the facilitation of such a lifestyle.
It’s an understatement to say that the pandemic brought about unprecedented change for people of all ages. But it’s also inspired younger generations to develop their own innovative solutions to different issues. As a result, many people have more flexible ideas regarding where to reside, how to work, and how to interact with and treat other people.
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