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Forward thinking

Our Prospective Lab decrypts trends, analyzes new initiatives and detects weak signals announcing ruptures.

Let’s imagine tomorrow’s buildings together

The collective foresight approach “Let’s imagine tomorrow’s buildings together”, initiated by the Scientific and Technical Centre for Building (CSTB) and the French environment and energy conservation agency (ADEME), aims to prepare for the future of buildings in France by 2050 by sharing the different visions of construction and real estate players. Bouygues Construction is one of the partners in this open and collaborative approach that aims to plan ahead for the future of our buildings.

20%

This is the share of global CO² emissions

for which the construction sector is responsible.

Dismantlability, for a circular economy in construction

Applying the principles of the circular economy to the city, circular urbanism advocates a change of approach to build the city on itself and make better use of existing assets and resources in the process of urban design. This is a matter of urgency in the context of climate change, resource scarcity and the critical fragility of the ecosystems from which the materials are taken. According to Sylvain Grisot, author of a manifesto on the subject, recycling spaces, transforming the existing while avoiding deconstruction, and intensifying the uses of spaces are the three golden rules to adopt in order to radically change our methods. Among the many possible tools, let’s explore the dismantlability of buildings: what is a dismantlable building, how should it be designed and for what purpose?

“Living with… for the last year”

La Vie avec (Living with...) is a user-adjustable system for monitoring the adaptation of French habits and lifestyles, combining monthly quantitative surveys of a panel of 1,000 people and the management of an online community of 50 citizen-consumers. The quantitative data presented in this article is taken from an online survey conducted by ObSoCo (Observatoire Société & Consommation) on the Respondi panel from 19 to 26 January 2021 on behalf of Bouygues Construction in three survey areas: the ideal living environment, housing as a work environment and involvement in local and community initiatives.

Transforming a street with a brushstroke: what does the future hold for tactical urbanism?

During 2020, the term 'tactical urbanism' suddenly appeared on the front pages of the press to describe the arrangements being tested in the face of the COVID-19 crisis: pop-up ‘corona cycle lanes’ marked out in yellow on the streets or temporary terraces for restaurants and cafés instead of parking bays, for example. Light, low-cost, temporary and sometimes transitional, tactical urbanism has many advantages in the face of crisis. Do these facilities point to more permanent developments? How do you transition smoothly between two views of a street or a square? What are the social and cultural issues at stake, and what are the impacts in terms of use? What initiatives can come from the inhabitants of an area?

Setting up a regional resilience programme

In late 2020, Bouygues Construction, Banque des Territoires and Chronos (an urban innovation consulting firm), with the support of France Ville Durable, held a retreat to discuss the topic of setting up a regional resilience programme. Using an array of assessment tools and regional initiatives, the attendees identified the key factors needed to formalise a regional resilience programme. France Ville Durable, Cerema, AEME, the French High Committee for National Resilience, the Paris Région Institute and the Grenoble Urban Planning Agency spoke of the dedication shown by those involved in this subject, and animated discussions on how to formalise the concept of regional resilience.

Will the new silk road change the world?

Since 2013, China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), also referred to as the New Silk Road, has been building a network to connect China with the rest of the world, with railways, highways, ports, airports, industrial areas, data centres and telecommunication networks. As part of this strategy, China has been financing and building infrastructures in a number of third-world countries in Asia, as well as Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. Is this New Silk Road about to change the world? Will it be open to everyone or under Chinese control? Is there a place for Europe? Below we consider three fictional and highly distinct scenarios in order to explore various possible futures, some frightening, some fascinating.

Intensifying the use of existing buildings

How do we do more with less? Modern cities are faced with numerous challenges. They need to emit less carbon and halt urban spread into natural areas, while also having enough space to live in social harmony and in line with shifting trends (reconstituted families, telework, etc.). With these contradictory demands—acquiring more space with less sprawl—time becomes an unexpected resource. Some spaces in our buildings are used only for certain times of the day, week or year. For example, educational facilities are generally used around 20% of the time, while offices are used between 30% and 45% of the time. This means they can be used more, by finding new users and new ways to use them. Let’s look at a few concrete examples.

Will the city of the future run on hydrogen?

Hydrogen has been put forth as a critical "green" energy solution in the next decades. Between public and personal transport, power production and storage, the innovations are proliferating around the world to make hydrogen a central part of our daily lives.

How will Île-de-France look in 2050 ?

Imagine it is 2050 in Ile-de-France. The effects of environmental disturbances and the reduction of energy resources have led to a profound transformation in the organisation of the region and life as it unfolds there. Half as many residents, virtually no automobiles, which have given way to low-tech transportation...plus local solidarity initiatives, breathable air and stronger ties to nature and biological rhythms. That is the revolutionary scenario described by Institut Momentum, a think tank specialising in degrowth, in its report Bioregions 2050.

Young people and housing: Swiss Army Knife, Open Door or Ready to Use?

In our previous article on the youth’s relationship with housing, we provided you with general trends on where young people live and their perceptions of housing. These lessons, drawn from a series of surveys carried out by JAM for Bouygues Construction among 1,000 young people aged between 18 and 25, led to the development of 6 model profiles, devised with young volunteers at a workshop following the survey. Today, we present you with the first three typical profiles, which give an insight into the different visions of housing that are cohabiting in the new generation.

What if, in the future, facial recognition was used in our towns ?

What if, in the future, facial recognition technologies went into general use in our towns and buildings? In China where this is already happening, the increasing use of such technology in both public and private spaces raises the spectre of mass surveillance and the risk of new attacks on privacy. While the number of experiments is increasing around the world and certain American towns are already taking the lead in preventing its use, the debate is beginning to take shape in Europe.

What if work sites were directly managed by thought in the future?

Operate your smartphone through thought; send a message or post a photo online without making any movement: are these practices worthy of a science fiction book in the process of becoming reality? In the future, will we have alternatives to the body for communicating with the outside world? This is the dream of the giants of the digital world who have thrown themselves enthusiastically into the field of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs).

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