New Chaos “Architects of Change” Report Reveals What People Want from the Cities of the Future

Thousands of Urban Residents Offer Insights on the Environmental and Economic Challenges They Face in Their Daily Lives, While Highlighting the Increased Need for Sustainable Cities

March 7, 2024

Today, Chaos, a global leader in 3D visualization tools, has published its “Architects of Change” report, which was created to help builders and architects better understand the changing nature of city living. The results paint an increasingly hostile picture for city residents stemming from climate change, rising energy costs, sustainable materials and more while also offering a roadmap that can help create better cities of the future.

 

Conducted in January 2024 by international research firm Censuswide, the survey includes results from over 4,000 adults across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. Respondents ranged 16–55+ years of age and all income brackets, as well as single and multi-occupant residents. Questions focused on the daily lives of urban citizens and the economic and environmental factors affecting them and their well-being.

 

Of those polled, more than half stated that temperature extremes were adversely affecting their mental well-being, while 20% responded that they would consider moving due to weather. 38% cited air quality as a major issue in their home cities, and one-in-four referenced overcrowding and over-development as major issues for urban residents. Economic pressures in the last year also played a major role in the view of city living, with 63% reporting that increased cost of living, especially rent and mortgage, have led to a decrease in their quality of life.

But along with the challenges laid out in the report, the data also offers a look at ways architects and builders can begin to combat them. A majority of urban residents (60%) stated that they would be willing to invest in solar panels, while 47% added sustainable building materials. Respondents also pointed to heat pumps (37%) and EV chargers (32%) as additions they would be willing to pay for, and 29% saw a need for better air filtration in their homes.

 

“The challenges faced by city dwellers are incredibly multi-faceted, leading with economic pressures and a rapidly changing climate,” said Roderick Bates, Director of corporate development at Chaos. “Fast-forward 10 years, and it’s clear our urban environments will look very different — and architecture is uniquely placed to bring structure and intention to this transformation. The Chaos survey presents a picture of the reality of cities today, empowering architects to design, visualize and build the cities of tomorrow.

A few other notable results revealed by the survey:

 

  • The need for storm and floodproofing: More than 20% pointed to climate change as a reason to improve and better prepare their homes for storms and floods.
  • Rocketing energy costs: Nearly 75% noted rising energy prices as a significant concern, along with an increased demand in energy efficiency.
  • Demand for soundproofing: More than 30% pointed to the need to soundproof their homes to combat noise pollution.

“The Chaos ‘Architects of Change’ report reveals mounting problems for the modern city dweller. With powerful economic and environmental forces coming to bear, cities can be hostile to those who live in them,” said Professor John Cays, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Hillier College of Architecture and Design. “As issues including housing affordability and climate extremes become ever more pressing, architects have a unique opportunity to re-imagine the city landscape. Today, technologies allow us to consider many alternatives and visualize truly innovative ways of living — such as micro-homes, multiple occupancy and sleeping hubs ­— to balance how tomorrow’s city dwellers need to live, and how they want to live.”

 

The full “Architects of Change” report, including population trends, demographic breakdowns and the way millennials are reshaping urban environments can be found here.