Communities In Boundaries: Post-covid19

Living a happy and fulfilling next chapter in a life in state of readiness for next pandemia.

Boundaries, we set

A world without boundaries, does it exist?, would it be real?, would it be liked?

And what boundaries do we live with? One would say that communities tend to set their own imaginary boundaries, penetrable for many, specially for those willing to belong to the community; sometimes this is defined as culture. Everyone enjoys within their culture. Yet, our world is creating new ways of behaving, new cultures within established ones, setting boundaries between communities that become restricted socially, yet very social within their boundaries, more social than before,… weird times.

New Homes for New Times

Busan Architecture Festival 2020 is now on at the metropolis of Busan, Korea, a very dynamic city where there is always something going on, the City Hall has a slogan for it since decades: “Dynamic Busan”,…. still valid today.

This year’s festival is examining the new homes, post-covid19, and they have attracted ideas and concept designs from countries like Austria, Japan, United Kingdom, China, Spain, Italy, and few others, and from The Republic of Korea, better known outside Korea as “South Korea”.

I recommend to stroll around the exhibition at the Shinsegae Department Store at Centum City Busan if you happen to be around, your body temperature is below 37degrees and you wear a mask at all times,… then you are happily accepted in.

You will enjoy reading the concept vision of many universities suggesting not just how the new homes of the right next future could be, but also why, which is the most interesting bit to read and reflect on.

Having so many countries involved in winning the Busan contest makes strolling around thickly informed posters even a richer experience; for what you can learn about what many different cultures around the world think about our post-covid19 cities and citizens,…. they are all setting very common trends!

To me, the most surprising fact is to see how Korean people are so well tuned to what the pandemic represents, even when they have not experienced what their counterparts at Europe, India, America,… have, that is the result of strong strict confinement and near total loss of social life as we know it. Koreans have made an effort to empathise and think deep, a great effort! Korean people are here to create a better future for their society too, learning from experiences elsewhere.

New Trends Have Emerged, Here To Stay

“Communities In Boundaries 2020”, digital art by Luis Benito

And in no particular order, this is what I have observed with regards to what all the participant universities conclude in common:

Nature and Humans need to merge more.

Humans need to become more merged with nature, more friendly to nature, for nature is here to come to the rescue, when humans and nature find balance and care for each other. Homes will have more nature inside, and cities will create natural spaces for nature to be more protagonist, at every corner possible. Connecting humans and nature,… no boundaries.

Homes need to be pandemic-ready, designed to adapt.

Extract from Pukyong National University Korea, Concept Design @biacf 2020,
Saeeun Kim, Yeeun Seo, Byeongjae Kim.

Homes are flexibly designed, for a range of pandemic situations: on a zero pandemic risk, houses are openly shared by everyone. On a pandemic alert of some seriousness, houses partition its interior into spaces for groups to live in a controlled connection with others. When a pandemic is declared and the situation is dire, houses become individually lived, partitioned to give safety to each occupant, while there are ways to connect through boundaries. Boundaries are existent, flexible and protecting,…. boundaries are liked for being functional, friendly, protecting.

Social nets are different and some are new in post-covid19 society.

Humans will find more imaginary boundaries, as cities and homes declare them without having to feel or see them physically. And this is when social habits will adapt to live life of social choices more than ever before: choosing to connect physically or psychologically through technology, or in both ways, with or without boundaries in between.

Humans will enjoy from having choices, while pandemics are out of the way, and will be able to retreat to their safe choice when the opposite becomes the norm. Humans will redefine social life and societies at large. The cities and homes they live will reflect their choice.

More space, more time, new ways of living together.

Extract from Pusan National University Korea, Concept Design @biacf2020,
Dakyeong Lee, Haeun Park, Eunhee Joo.

Some are proposing to design apartment blocks and communities of houses with paths around them that will create spaces of physical connectivity and interaction with neighbours and other “passing-byers”, so that people can exercise a choice to connect; some buildings will generate connecting pathways for meeting and greeting others in spaces filled with nature, so that the choice to be social always exists, safely social even under strict lockdown circumstances. Mental health issues could become less often and more manageable.

And homes will become flexible inside: whether homes are large enough or not, their design will allow for partitions that will generate spaces for each individual or set of individuals to enjoy pandemic life, while the home becomes a larger community without boundaries for when all is good and safe again.

And since post-covid19 season might not return societies to a complete sense of personal safety for some time, these flexible homes will generate imaginary boundaries, as people inside them will have the choice to utilise the space at different degrees of imaginary isolation, mentally ready to be next pandemic free!, always in health.

Such flexible houses will redefine new social norms in families and with outside society. Busan Architecture Festival shows great example of how flexible homes could be designed and look like. It could represent the end of the living room as we know it,…

Extract from Chosun University Korea, Design Concept @biacf2020,
Deul Lee, Gyujin Kim, Jihye Min.

Outdoor is life, outdoor life comes home.

Nature and humans will coexist at homes where open balconies become more the norm than ever before; and the balcony garden might become a must, where inhabitants will be advised about what type of plants are most suitable for each season and mood purpose, something that would be purchased as a pre-designed pack of happiness, to fit each person’s home style.

Cities as prolongation of flexible homes.

And when most people are able to enjoy life in flexible homes, they will expect their cities to become a mirror image of the experience.

When being outside, flexibility is always more of a given than in between wall boundaries. However, outside design of cities will change to create places that mirror the experience at the flexible homes and neighbourhood, with nature and humans sharing space more intimately, with corridors to meet and greet passing-byers, and paths to move from A to B without the need to meet anyone; with corridors for cars to travel to fixed destination points without entertaining the eye looking around, just mission-focused journeys; with lots of places to isolate and enjoy 6,7,…who knows which G internet,… and with communal places to remember that communities bring joy too. Busan Metrolopolitan City is already planning for some of this future to become a reality, through their so-called “Busan Grand Plan”.

Extract of “Busan Grand Plan” shown @biacf2020

Connecting people by design, when purpose is lacking.

All in all, cities will be planned for people to connect in a variety of new ways, adaptable to the degree of pandemic risk. Cities will create boundaries between people when there is a need to protect their health, and will remove them when there is a need to boost their health. Cities will still be designed to attract people to live in communities, communities in boundaries, boundaries set by societal new habits, boundaries that will be liked as they are for fulfilling new human‘s purpose.

Communities In Boundaries beyond 2020

In conclusion, what the Busan Architecture Festival 2020 shows are trends that we can easily be absorbed as possible; some seem closer in time than others, some are here to stay for communities most hit by the covid19 pandemic; all of them are possible, perhaps most of them desirable,…. citizens of the post-covid19 world will play a part at deciding which ones they like to make real for them as user-consumers, for good for now.

New generations, always active to shape the future, will now drive faster pace for the future of cities to adapt to new desired social life, and rule makers seem to be listening, at least at Busan!

Welcome to the next society 2021 and beyond.

Communities In Boundaries 2020:

#confinement #self-isolation # neighbours-on-imaginary-boundaries #lifeinside # lifearound #togetherapart #newtogetherness


  1. Thank you Luis for sharing your insight about the post-covid world from Busan Architecture Festival 2020 where people can see the conceptual work done by the university students who are the owner and decision maker to create next generation society. It was a good chance for me to have a think about post-covid industry & business to assist the people under new normal.

    1. Thanks Sung Gu, this was a very stimulating exhibit, pushed me to write the blog and share,… very inspiring seeing what young generation can create for a better future.

Leave a Reply