The challenge of new mixed - use places:
Architect. Space planning consultant. LEED Green Associate
We are all facing an enormous challenge. The coronavirus pandemic forced about a
third of the world population on some form of lockdown, meaning their movement
is being actively restricted and controlled by their respective governments.
In just a few weeks, the concept of mixed- use spread throughout our homes and
we had to learn to manage different activities continuously 24/7 in a single
structure. If you live in a large house or have a small family, this may not be an
important issue, but there are many houses that are already experiencing this new
In Portugal, it was decided a week ago that schools from the 1st to the 10th grades
will remain closed in this last term. E-learning will be the standard. We are adapting
as quickly as possible and trying to reorganize ourselves and our homes for this big
Our houses will continue to be mixed-use places, where different types of use will
coexist: workplaces, school in different grades, various activities such as music,
dance and theater classes, gymnastics and sports training , preparing and taking
meals, leisure and, hopefully, should also safeguard the private sphere of all
members. Human beings are a social species, but also need their own time and
Routines and a coordinated family plan
Our current condition can trigger a change in our sleep and wake cycles. Wake up
early and try to keep your daily routine. This will help you balance all the activities
throughout the day.
We will need a good team in the coming months!
To identify more precisely the times and rhythms of each, you can define a family
plan. It will be easier to manage spaces and make changes to better respond to new
If now you work from home you should ensure a quiet place, and at certain times of
the day you may need more privacy. Like a phone booth in an open office.
If there is no space available, why not temporarily convert the pantry or a storage
room, or even a walking closet into a private space? To make conference calls,
meetings or attend online courses.
Children and teens also need their own workspace; To study, play, participate in
classes. The reality is that most of these activities now requires digital tools that are
not always enough for all. Learning to share and the relevance of daily planning.
In order not to have last minute surprises, make sure your Wi-Fi network is working
and that it covers all spaces where it is now needed. In areas with weak network signal,
install a range extender, a device compatible with any wi-fi router.
We will spend a lot of time together; meals can be important moments of sharing
without screens and news. Preparing those can also be a time of learning, with the
participation of the little ones. Enjoy those moments. Make special and healthy
recipes and let them join you.
Maintaining privacy in co - living spaces
Ensuring a safe and pleasant environment is important to maintain confidence and
good wealth. Nowadays it is easy to fall into the temptation to evade us through a
screen and a set of headphones. But this is our daily condition. Other solutions must be
Privacy does not mean being alone. A careful listening to our needs and those who are
with us is the first step to ensure that our space - time is safeguarded.
Despite the lockdown, do not forget the importance of fresh air. If you have your own
garden, make the most of it, even for work. A table under the shade of a tree, listening
the birds, can be a very inspiring workplace!
If you live in an apartment building with a common flat roof, explore it. It can be an
alternative place to spend a quiet moment and enjoy the view.
Respect the rules of social distance. Take short walks in the park frequently, go jogging
or cycling, even if you have a drone right in front of you, saying you should go home…
From these experiences, we will learn a lot. On adaptability, new needs that demand
news ways of approach of thinking integrated spaces to live and work. This trend was
already underway, and the present situation can be a leverage point to achieve
balanced and eco - efficient solutions in an early future.
The carbon detox we are providing to the planet will only have long-term effects if
there is a serious commitment to change the path.
Let´s focus on doing the right things, in a sustainable way. Helping to accelerate the
transformation into healthy, high-performance green buildings. That is part of the