Excerpt via Dwell
Even before the time of social distancing, studies showed that Americans, on average, spent 90% of their time indoors and 10 hours each day in front of screens. While technology and the virtual communities that seep into our lives through texting, social media, and email have fulfilled social needs, they have also made our increased reliance on indoor life possible, and have enabled the growth of a convenient “shut-in economy” which relies on the work of thousands of underpaid gig workers to deliver supplies.
With all that in mind, what interior or architectural needs are emerging today in our time of quarantine?
- Access to fresh air and green spaces through balconies, courtyards, and indoor greenery
- Interior spaces for activities such as exercise and meditation to promote physical and mental wellness
- Spaces that are free of technology, which push us into conversation and engagement without the “hearth” of television or the phone screen
- Homes with separate living and working environments that help us mediate our work/life balance, and which provide us with privacy from cohabitants
At a greater, cultural scale, our entire concept of home needs to extend beyond the confines of our dwellings and into our neighborhoods. This was the conclusion of a 2013 series of essays published in the Architectural Review, which anticipated an “epochal transition” in the way we relate to our environment.
Every day, we hear stories of neighborly acts of kindness and cooperation. We need to grab onto these moments to counter the increasing siloing of our society into the indoors. We need to reject the darkest aspect of the urban condition: that in tall apartment buildings only yards apart, people can be suffering alone, without the comfort of community.