Could Swedish robots be the answer to the housing crisis?

This week we were given a glimpse into the technological (very near) future thanks to #IKEA’s latest product innovation: #robotic furniture. The Swedish #retail giant has announced the launch of a new robotic system called Rognan, developed in collaboration with American furniture start-up Ori Living.


As #cities are becoming more and more crowded, we’re already seeing significant demand for housing rapidly surpassing supply. Ikea believes it offers part of the solution by introducing Rognan for small space living “where people will be able to turn small spaces into #smartspaces that have all the comfort and convenience of a home”. It sounds like science fiction, but it will be some a consumer reality soon.


This is not IKEA’s only initiative to help tackle the housing crisis. BoKlok, a Swedish housing developer jointly owned by Skanska and IKEA, is currently in the process of establishing a UK presence to make home ownership more widely available to those with average incomes. They have already built more than 11,000 homes in Sweden, Finland and Norway, using off-site manufacturing methods that give more people the opportunity to own a quality, #sustainablehome, at a lower price than the current market value.


At the same time, according to #WorldEconomicForum, cities around the world are demonstrating great resourcefulness to create more affordable housing. #LA has adopted a law allowing motels to be converted into permanent housing. #Bristol is building homes on a former primary school site. #Copenhagen is pooling publicly owned assets into an “Urban Wealth Fund” that partners with the private sector to deliver projects. The big picture is that the world seems to be taking the housing challenge seriously.


In the UK, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says that London needs to deliver 100,000 homes. The #NLA reports that for the first time in 40 years the UK capital is seeing substantial numbers of homes being delivered directly by councils, aided by the recent pledge by Mayor Sadiq Khan of £10million to help councils boost their housing design and planning teams.


There is no doubt that the housing challenge is complex and its solution requires an orchestrated effort from all parties involved in the housing market, including the public and private sector. There is still a long way to go, but seeing serious effort across the globe restores hope in creating affordable housing for more people living in the world’s biggest and most densely populated cities.

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