The World Economic Forum predicts that two billion new homes need to be built in the coming 80 years. This is a direct result of an increasing birth rate, a greying population and an increase in one to two person households. The United Nations Human Rights Council reports that the cost of housing is escalating at alarming rates, making housing unaffordable for the middle class.

How to build these homes will be a hot topic for a lot of countries. It is not merely about the amount of resources: in this era of global warming and climate change, countries have to think about reducing carbon emissions and finding sustainable solutions.

What is Urban Living?

Urban Living includes furnishing your home with multifunctional furniture set in multifunctional rooms, making optimal use of scarce space, leaving a small carbon footprint by recycling and finding ways to spare the environment.

“We all know that, in the near future, the world’s growing population and urbanisation will create challenges in providing homes for everyone. The available space is becoming scarce and the costs of living in cities will only get higher. The future of housing in larger cities will change and homes will be a lot smaller, flat complexes will offer shared functionalities that residents can use if required,”

says Roland van der Velden, Innovation Manager Bruynzeel Storage Systems

Downsizing living space

The urban living movement is getting bigger and bigger. This architectural and social movement advocates for downsizing living spaces. Other concepts like micro housing and tiny housing are also being introduced with the same objective of using less living space and reducing our carbon footprint.

“Micro housing is a lifestyle or a need. Pretty much every continent and country suffers from a lack of space in one location or another,”

says Joao Pereira, Head Architect for the High 6 project at Tengbom.

Pilot project

As a company that focuses on sustainable space-creating solutions, Bruynzeel recently finished an exciting innovative urban living pilot project, called “the flexible wall”, in collaboration with Tengbom, one of the largest architect firms in the world, and OBOS, one of the Nordic countries largest housing builders.

Joao Pereira, the head architect explains;

“There is a huge market, and growing need to find products that meet users’ needs at home and at work.”


Image: High 6 project by Tengbom

Van der Velden explains

“By providing space-efficient urban living solutions like this flexible wall, we can contribute in a positive way to the housing problem. It’s fairly simple; a smaller house needs less building materials, less heating or cooling and therefore has a smaller footprint. It also provides fair opportunities for people to live in or near big cities.”

The prototype of the flexible wall has been tested in one of the “OBOS flat houses” in Sweden. It is a multifunctional piece of furniture that can transform spaces for different functionalities. It contributes to people’s daily activities by offering them the space they need at a certain time of day.

“In daytime it can be used as your workspace, dining area or room for your kids to play and, at night, it will turn into a bedroom”

says Roland van der Velden.


Joao Pereira, Head Architect of the High 6 at Tengbom
Roland van der Velden, Innovation Manager at Bruynzeel Storage Systems