Foresight project investigating future changes to the Buildings Sector 2040 

Future of Buildings Project 



This collaborative project launched in Spring 2021 was about co-creation, leveraging on the power of foresight & design tools, the creativity of students, and the strong partnership to drive innovation. Jointly managed by ARUP and the EDHEC FIT Chair, the project aimed at identifying novel business opportunities in buildings that require multiple parties to act together to develop their full potential. 

For the 9 months of the project, partners were supported by 350 students working on identifying key trends and future development scenarios in order to develop innovative solutions to your problems that are desirable, technologically feasible, and financially viable. 


According to the United Nations, over the next 35 years, 2.5 trillion ft² of buildings will be constructed or renovated in cities worldwide. Knowing that buildings produce about 40% of annual global GHG emissions, we must act now to meet emissions reduction targets set by the Paris Agreement.

The industry changes fast and is fueled by five drivers of change:  

  • GREEN DEAL: Reducing the CO2 footprint of buildings,  circularity, deconstruction industry. ​ 
  • HEALTH, WELLNESS, AND WELLBEING: Air filtration, purification, sensors, lighting 
  • ECO-FRIENDLINESS: Zero-waste design, 3D printing, subscription-based short-term rentals​ 
  • FLEXIBILITY: Adjustable interior to convert into workspaces, etc.​ 
  • INDUSTRIALIZATION: Digitalization, breaking up of silos, co-planning, co-construction, digital twin 



The building sector today suffers from fragmentation, complex regulation, low productivity growth, poor procurement and supply-chain management, and contractual frameworks that hinder collaboration across the value chain. At the same time, it faces big challenges, like reducing its carbon emissions, digitalisation and the difficulty to attract skilled workforces. 

So is there hope? We believe, yes. There are many change drivers that may still create a perfect storm and revolutionize the industry. Let’s fast forward and explore 4 scenarios of how the building sector will change in 20 years' time. 

Imagine yourself in the year 2040. More information 

Winning Student Concepts 


For 4 months, 350 students from 2 Master Programmes worked on multiple challenges inspired by our partners. The result is 50 innovative solutions developed with one main goal: to drive sustainable transformation in the building industry. More Information

Testimonials from our partners 


In this video, you will hear testimonials from our partners and students about the Future of Buildings Day, were students developed sustainable solutions to multiple challenges and presented them to the partners. 



To learn more about the challenges surrounding the Future of Building Project, read Professor René Rohrbeck's article:'Circularity, Industrialisation, Digitalisation: The perfect storm to revolutionize the buildings sector?'


Find out more 


Future Business Models in Building Renovation Project in 2022


We propose a 9-month co-creation project with complementary, non-competing industry partners and final-year EDHEC students, orchestrated by EDHEC FIT Chair and ARUP, in 2022. More information 



***Somfy is supporting the work of the EDHEC FIT Chair in identifying novel business opportunities in the future of buildings 






Join our academic student teams and share with us your priorities and research questions. As a partner, you will receive at the end of this project a detailed foresight report and customized workshop to transfer the project insight into your organization.  

If you are interested, contact ALIX LA COTTE by sending an email to [email protected] 




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