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Coronavirus: life after. How a pandemic will affect our homes
The COVID-19 outbreak seems to have come out of nowhere and caught us at a time when we were unprepared for the changes in our spiritual and physical stabilities. New social behavior and isolated way of life have become guarantors of safeness for ourselves and, in fact, for everyone around us. We learned to maintain relationships without hugs, work without offices, and take care of each other at a distance.
One of the main concepts that underwent a radical reassessment was the house — the only place that patiently kept cool all the time and protected us from external irritants. The pandemic has forced adjustments to the "we-home" relationship for us to be prepared for new outbreaks of pandemics. And after — the home will never be the same as before *.
*All of the information below is subjective and correlates to the global situation as of April 2020.
Houses VS apartments
Pandemic will solve several eternal dilemmas — one of them will never be a dilemma again. After forced self-isolation in concrete shelters on different floors above the ground, often without a balcony or terrace, one will desperately want to have a house.
Throughout time, the primary function of the house was safety. Initially, it served as a hiding place from bad weather and predatory animals. Then tall stone fortresses appeared to prevent the enemy from getting there. Today people need a house that will effectively provide social isolation and therefore minimize the chance of being infected.
During the industrialization, high-rise buildings were built to keep as many people as possible in one place — more often plant and factory workers. Nobody truly cared about health and hygiene. In times of pandemic, it is necessary to reduce contact with everything that is used massively in multi-storey buildings — elevator, elevator buttons, door handles, any surfaces, neighbors after all.
Previously, the house was considered to be an escape from the routine and urban chaos. Today it is an escape from viruses and infections. This is where urbanization takes a step back. What exactly we will choose — small villages or suburbs of metropolises — is another question.
My home is my fortress
The buildings of the future will be proud and independent: with their own water supply and heating. Geothermal wells that are gaining popularity already, in addition to water, can also partially provide a home with heating. There will be several sources of heating to have a safety net: a stove, a fireplace, a solid fuel boiler, a fuel generator, and solar panels. Autonomous mini-stations generating alternative power will become a reality. The main goal is to be independent of the outside world and to minimize the risks in the case of a full shutdown.
Besides, we will now get to the satellite internet very quickly so that we do not depend on one provider. Today it is an expensive and not very convenient service, which is accessible only to certain organizations (maritime transport, mining and construction companies, military organizations), and soon it will be an ordinary solution for civilian use.
OneWeb and SpaceX were going to cover the entire planet with the internet before the pandemic. OneWeb has already deployed the first six devices of the global satellite Internet system into the Earth's orbit. SpaceX's Starlink project envisaged the launch of 12,000 satellites into the low (330-350 km) orbit by the mid-2020s. 360 Internet satellites of the Starlink system by SpaceX are already on orbit.
Bunkers are not just for the “survivors”
Among "survivors" — those who are constantly training to survive in the face of a complete apocalypse (yes, they do exist) — a trend for further fortified premises has been popular for a long time already. Looking at our real experience, films about the end of the world no longer seem to be so surreal and the desire to prepare your home for natural or man-made hazards is no longer surprising.
In the future, it will be necessary not only to have a garage near the house, but also a bunker, or at least a fortified minus floor with a pantry for food and water.
Open spaces are getting closed
One of the main trends of recent years is the open spaces with the entrance group, living room, and kitchen united. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the entrance group will be separated, so that we can leave there our shoes and clothing — things that were "in contact" with the outside world.
Particularly demanding families will also create a cleaning room with antibacterial spraying (similar to those with water installed at the summer cafes). Only through it — along with purchases, guests, etc. — will it be possible to get to the house.
Immunity requires ultraviolet light
In the future, each house will be equipped with bactericidal irradiators for quartzing. This process occurs by switching on a special lamp that generates ultraviolet radiation, that kills harmful organisms, viruses, and bacteria. The duration of such irradiation depends on the type of lamp and the area of the room.
Quartzing is now most commonly used in medical facilities. But in the aftermath of a pandemic, such a preventive measure will be mandatory. Moreover, among all possible types of disinfection, UV is the most practical, environmentally-friendly, and safe. It is just important to follow safety rules.
Now water and air filtration systems are an additional cost and a function that is often abandoned in favor of a designer table. After the pandemic, the trend will change because after all, no one will be safe from the infection that can get into the water supply.
To make sure, people will be willing to overpay for the well’s depth, adequate surveys, and filtration systems. Manufacturers of smart home systems will go further and develop programs for automatic air and water cleaning. Moreover, the air from the outside will be filtered too.
But the most important will be the filters of humanity: our actions and words that create positive or negative vibrations on the planet's surface.
Home is a new office
During the quarantine, the office moved home. And what will be after? Someone will race back to meet colleagues, drink that typical office coffee, and gossip. But someone will decide not to return to the office, realizing that working on distance is more convenient, flexible, and has a positive effect on productivity.
More and more attention will be paid to the arrangement of the workplace at home. The organization of the space of the house will change, because the working place at home is no longer about a desk with a parody on an office chair and a lamp somewhere in the corner of the living room or, at best, an ex-pantry for 5 square meters. Now it will be a technically equipped room with large windows and blackout curtains, comfortable furniture, and sound insulation.
What about the offices? Offices will have to make even more efforts to make their workers come back. The interiors of the WOW effect, the lounges, the sleeping capsules, the gyms, etc. will be the must-have.
We are all farmers
Gardens on the balconies, gardens on the terraces and green walls inside the house — over time, the houses will be filled with plants even more than before.
The famous saying "I love to communicate with land, it calms" by our grandparents is not a myth. It is proved that physical activity in contact with living plants is a good protection of the mental debility (dementia), as well as of the despondency. Frequent contact with soil and greenery produces a hormone of youth in the human body — irisin.
And why do we have to go somewhere if we can eat what grows in our home garden? Quarantine is perhaps the best time to get to know more about an assortment of seeds and how to grow a multi-week ration at home.
You will not surprise anyone with green walls, so you can take a deeper look — as in the recent Guy Ritchie film "Gentlemen", where marijuana was produced on underground plantations. This is a good solution for the common garden too because it minimizes the possible pollution of the atmosphere. Of course, you need extra equipment here: artificial phytoactive lighting, water, and air filtration scheme, soil fertilizer, but it is worth some fresh tomatoes with salt.
Rejection of mass export, mass development, mass everything
The mass world will be left behind, the new world is about things that matter. There will be a few of them and they will be chosen more responsibly. More questions will be asked: if they are made of natural materials, if their production does not harm the planet, what idea lies behind these things — if there is beauty inside them? Moreover, state governments will support local manufacturers to rebuild their economies. Once you leave export and import, you will no longer be such frivolous cosmopolitans.
And finally. Take care of yourself, one another, and the place where we were all born — the planet Earth. Because where indifference lives, flowers do not bloom.
Illustrations — Nikita Uvarov