I like to think about the future sometimes. It helps me spark creativity even if it is nonsense. The more you think about the nonsense, the more things pop up that make you think a little deeper. Where that leads, who knows, but it’s fun to play around with it. What follows is one of those activities.
A World Without Garages
I truly believe that within a generation or two, private vehicle ownership will be a thing of the past. I know it may seem crazy to someone living in Houston, TX in 2023. However, if one thinks about high-density cities like Chicago, New York, and the like, there are people who have never owned a car or even had a driver’s license. In both cases there are challenges with transportation. If you look to the future, a few interesting things come to light.
First, movement of humans in the future will be just as important as the movement of “stuff”. As such, logistics will become really important. Part of that conversation is the how things will move. Realistically, everything from air to rail to road to boat has to be considered. This is where shit gets really “Jetsons”-esque. What if, instead of going out in getting in your car in the morning to go to work, you essentially used an app to choose a vehicle, a destination, and a time. Instead of an Uber, a self-driving, pre-programmed vehicle arrives. From there, using a network of other vehicles it is able to deliver you to your destination at exactly the time it promised because there would be no dumbass humans to cause traffic. You could work, eat, sleep, or do whatever you want on your commute to the office. Sounds pretty darn enticing to me.
Forget about all of the transportation related things we could unpack here. If that could be the future, what happens to real estate? We no longer need garages. Or maybe not garages the way we think of them today. What if we could repurpose that space to additional living or purposeful storage. What if that could become income-producing living space? No more driveways, more green space, prettier streetscapes could all be a reality.
I know that there are a million things to think about here. You don’t use your garage for your car. I get it. It holds all your shit. What if that space was actually designed to hold your shit instead of your car? What would happen to storage facilities if we essentially created a storage locker in the home? What if we built more affordable homes on smaller lots because we saved 400+ square feet? How many more people could become homeowners? How would that affect wealth for generations of future Americans? What does high-density living look like if we don’t have to account for vehicle storage? What would it do for developments if you could, theoretically, only have one lane of roadway that is one-way?
It’s a lot to unpack. This is the weird shit I think about. Welcome to my brain.