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The future of the European built environment – A forward-looking description of Europe in 2030 and 2050

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No one knows what the future exactly holds. Nevertheless, we look at trends and examine new developments today to define business strategies and to develop policies and regulations for tomorrow. In this report we present a forward-look on the European built environment in 2050.


It applies to the entire built environment: residential, commercial, public and industrial buildings.


This vision is based on eight essentials for buildings of the future. Buildings will become climate resilient, circular and deconstructable.


They will deliver energy, be cognitive and will be flexible in use. Buildings will support a healthy lifestyle and enable working and living in a 24-hour economy and there will be a strong focus on the performance of buildings for all the essentials.


But how do we get there, what are these essentials based on? They are based on a more generic vision on Europe as a whole. We zoom in on five crucial trends that shape the future of Europe:

  1. Climate change
  2. Resource scarcity
  3. Changes in population
  4. Urbanization
  5. Focus on health

Three enables drive this trends: the (digital) technology, finance and policy and regulation.


The report addresses two milestones: 2050 and 2030.


The long-term perspective of 2050 provides insights into shifting environmental, economic and social models. For 2050 we assume fruition of several trends.


This is ‘only’ one renovation-cycle ahead of us. 2030 offers a shorter-term forward-look at how current developments may have matured or may have become mainstream.


Business strategies can be based on this shorter-term perspective. By no means this report aims to be exhaustive.


This forward-looking exercise does not set out to forecast or predict the future. It rather intends to provide a framework that can stimulate and inspire policy and decision makers and business strategists.


It may serve to feed the discussion about which trends shape the next few decades of the European built environment.