Many South Africans are opting to stay and play at home, and this is having an impact on what home and housing estate designs look like. There are a number of reason for this, one of them being what is called “the internet of things”. The internet of things, or IoT is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects like mobile phones, TV’s etc, which enables them to send and receive data. Not that ground-breaking now that this is part of our every day lives. However, what is really interesting is how this access is shaping our choices and behaviours and thus our physical world.
IoT has spawned a new type of leisure time, weekends are spent staying in watching Netflix, playing Call of Duty with some pimply teenager who’s sitting in his room 3000 miles away or even creating your Pinterest board, just because you can. These experiences are now seamless, you don’t have plug in and dial up (Millennials are wondering what that is right about now), you don’t have to phone the restaurant to order your food and you don’t even have to come face-to-face with another human to decide whether you’re attracted to them or not. The internet has given us the world at our fingertips, the universe in the palm of our hands and the ability to create experiences at home. We ask people to come over and watch the latest episode of The Witcher, we stream our music via Spotify or Apple Music over dinner (goodbye CD’s) and we keep the kids entertained with endless episodes of Peppa Pig on YouTube. Let’s be honest, going out doesn’t always play out the way we had hoped; the restaurant is too full; the food came late; the waiter inattentive; the music was bad etc. With all of this at our disposal what incentive is there to get out and socialise? And that’s not a bad thing.
We now have more power than ever to curate niche experiences at home. Smart homes are driven by IoT; think ambient lighting to suit the time of day and mood, temperature controlled environments which can adapt according to the temperature outside the house and what’s going on inside the house; remote locking and security systems and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Globally there is an increasing trend to just stay at home.
Many of us, if we have the luxury of space, would opt to have a fluid entertainment area which can host parties, barbecues, movie nights- the list is almost endless. And we would opt to have control over the situation and the event- a big driver for us South Africans to cocoon at home is the increasing threat of crime, and the design of our homes speak to this. It seems that these ‘stay-at-home’ entertainment features are not only peculiar to larger homes and smaller sectional title apartments are seeing the inclusion of things like in-built gas braai’s, exclusive-use gardens, pizza ovens and fibre-to-the-home. Secondly, it far cheaper to stay in or entertain at home; costs can be controlled, and a culture of sharing can be encouraged, the old “bring-and-braai” idea but on a grander scale.
Residential estates, and many of which are in Durban KZN, are ideally designed for this way of life; with robust security in place your home becomes ever more attractive for entertaining. Cost aside, owners of freestanding homes have the privilege to design to bespoke homes to not only suit their price but also suit their practical needs and their lifestyles, and these days the lines between what is a need and what is a luxury have become somewhat blurred. What may have been seen as a ‘entertainment’ area in yesteryear, today looks more like an open-plan common area where the kitchen, lounge and dining areas are one space where everyday life and entertainment happens.