Design Trends

Keep, Stop, Start: Creating Communities That Will Thrive in 2023 and Beyond

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In December 2022, the New Home Trends Institute team released our list of 23 consumer, home, community, and product trends for 2023 (available to members here). Here is what to keep, stop, and start doing to take advantage of the coming trends in community design. 

Keep creating “Third Places.”  

Consumers are yearning for unstructured socialization to mitigate overscheduled lifestyles. Third places are a solution.  

The Atlantic defines a third place as “a physical location (excluding home or work) where there is no substantial cost of entry and where conversation is the primary activity and lingering is encouraged.

Example. Located in the Elyson master-planned community in Katy, TX, the Elyson Café is a full-service restaurant that has come to be the center of community life and organic hangouts—where residents can stop in for a post-workout smoothie, coffee with neighbors, or a casual lunch. 

Stop segmenting solely by age and transition to a lifestyle-based segmentation.  

Consumers choose communities that reflect their ideologies and attitudes more so than their life stage. This is impacting segmentation strategies in two ways: 

  1. Age-restricted communities will become more integrated. Designers are increasingly including age-restricted homes as 55+ pockets in a larger all-ages master plan rather than as separate communities. 
  2. Designers are creating and marketing communities based on values, attitudes, and ideologies. 

Example. RISE, in Costa Rica, promotes a common vision as a “community that integrates residences, a Waldorf-inspired school, Certified Organic farm, fiber-connected co-working space, and wellbeing retreat into one dynamic ecosystem. Set on 800 acres, RISE attracts families seeking a stable, self-directed life defined by creativity, joy, ease, and prosperity.” 

Start considering the role resilience should play in your design. 

Sustainability includes survivability. Rising climate disasters are shining a spotlight on designs that allow homes to better withstand extreme weather events. However, this is not yet influencing where consumers will move. In fact, Freddie Mac finds that migration to high-risk areas has doubled since the onset of the pandemic. But designers are thinking ahead of the crowd, seeking to reinforce their communities.

Example. Kitson & Partners created America’s first solar-powered town, Babcock Ranch, in southwest Florida. With an 870-acre solar farm, solar-tree charging stations (pictured here), and the country’s largest solar-plus storage system, residents have access to renewable energy. The investment pays dividends in good weather and bad. Despite being subjected to 10 hours of a Category 4 hurricane, the community never lost power. Other design measures kept the homes intact and above water. 

Complete this form to learn about becoming a New Home Trends Institute member. For current members, click here to hear more about these trends from our master plan expert, Ken Perlman, as well as three other experts from the team.