New demands for the city of the future

Tim Harrup

Immobel Luxembourg CEO Olivier Bastin shares his views on the way in which our cities will develop over the future. Although his company’s portfolio is oriented towards residential, he is aware that the city of tomorrow will have to rhyme with diversity. Speaking to Cocoonut (Aurelien Dobbels and Nicolas Legay) in an interview published by Silicon Luxembourg (Charles-Louis Machuron), Olivier’ Bastin’s vision will strike a note with all concerned.

Olivier Bastin starts by saying that new ways of thinking about the city are appearing and it is possible to find, for example, areas dedicated to rooftop agriculture. The human being is put back at the center of concerns and professionals in the sector have understood that a link must be created between the inhabitants through the development of places of exchange and meetings. Improving their quality of life also depends on the proximity of services and limiting car travel.
The urban mix is now also seeking to reduce the boundary between personal and professional life. More and more programs are now integrating coworking and coliving spaces, which favour diversity and intergenerational links: in such programs, senior citizens can rub shoulders with young entrepreneurs or students.


The second aspect that Olivier Bastin believes to be essential in the development of the city of tomorrow is verticality. Large buildings are the symbol of a dense, intense and futuristic city. On the one hand, the development of ever-faster transportation accompanied by the increase in network density and connections between cities has favored horizontal urban growth with more low-rise housing. Suburban development is often synonymous with quality of life. On the other hand, high-rise buildings have a bad image and often rhyme with promiscuity. This urban sprawl has a significant cost, especially from an environmental point of view, where every year a lot of land is concreted and the air is increasingly polluted by the commuting to and from work of people living in the suburbs.
In other words, horizontality is not a model of sustainable urban development and urban planning should encourage the densification of spaces to leave room for greenery and biodiversity within the city itself.

New modes of habitat

Verticality would therefore make it possible to move towards a dense, sustainable city that would limit commuting, allow economies of scale, and promote accessibility to services and facilities. The challenge lies in changing the point of view that we may have on verticality and making urban planning fit in with new lifestyles. On the same wave as the transportation market with Uber, the hotel industry with Airbnb, or the various marketplaces, residential and office real estates are>< Co-location, cooperative housing, shared offices… Habits are changing and we consume differently. From New York to Tokyo, this trend of coliving and coworking means that buildings must therefore be designed to meet the needs of their occupants, and like eco-neighborhoods, new services and uses should be made available at the scale of the building or neighborhood. Today’s city residents want all-inclusive, flexible service offers with limited administrative constraints. However, they will not make any concessions on the quality of services. The city of tomorrow will first have to be rethought from an urban planning point of view. It will have to improve the lives of its inhabitants while being more responsible. To achieve this, even though technology will undoubtedly be increasingly present in construction, sales and building management techniques, other low-tech initiatives such as urban vegetable gardens and recycling could also create links between citizens to improve their daily lives.