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How We Live Now: Guardian Cities Film Series


13 June 2016

We've teamed up with the Guardian to produce a series of films presenting five portraits of people who are pioneering new ways of living in cities. In consultation with our co-curators of Home Economics at the British Pavilion at this year’s architecture biennale in Venice, Shumi Bose, Jack Self and Finn Williams, the Guardian went to Tokyo, New York, London, Constitución and Los Angeles to explore how the idea of home is changing.

Read the full story and view the five-part film series 'How We Live' on the Guardian website.

The Guardian writes, 'at the Venice Biennale 2016, British architects have been addressing the issue of the global housing crisis, and the evolving concept of the home.' Home Economics at the British Pavilion asks questions of British society and architectural culture that have come about as a result of changes in patterns of everyday life. The exhibition unfolds through a series of five architectural propositions, designed around incremental amounts of time: Hours, Days, Months, Years and Decades. 'How We Live Now' looks at new ways of living in five different cities around the globe through the lens of each of the time periods of occupancy considered in Home Economics.


"Over the past decades our patterns of life have changed profoundly. New technologies have displaced how, where and when we work and play." 

Jack Self, Curator of the British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2016

In Tokyo, commutes are so long, and apartments so tiny, that may people sleep in internet cafes. The Guardian gives us an insight into this new way of living and curator Jack Self comments; “We have to acknowledge that the digital communities they might be part of, and their connection to the internet, forms an entirely different type of community and type of family that has not existed previously.”

 Watch the film on the Guardian website

New York 

“We travel ever-increasing distances, yet live in ever-decreasing circles.” 

Vicky Richardson, Commissioner of the British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2016

In New York, the digital sharing economy means you don’t actually need an apartment of your own. David and Elaine moved to New York in 2014 and decided to live in different Airbnb apartment each month for 1 year to explore they city’s neighbourhoods. 15 months later, they are still using Airbnb.

Watch the film on the Guardian website


“To speak of the British home today is to speak of unaffordable rent and an acute housing shortage” 

Shumi Bose, Curator of the British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2016

Co-living is a new way for people to live in cities. The Collective have launched a new block of flats in London that act like a boarding or shared house. There are about 500 small private bedrooms who share communal spaces such as kitchens, dining rooms, a gym and a spa. With rents spiraling out of control in London, could this way of living be a solution?

Watch the film on the Guardian website 


“Housing today is perhaps the most important form of social exclusion and arguably the defining issue of our time”
Jack Self, Curator of the British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2016

In 2010 a tsunami devastated the south coast of Chile. When rebuilding began, architect and curator for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 Alejandro Aravena, and architecture firm Elemental proposed a new type of social housing. Jack Self comments; “Alejandro Aravena is one of the few architects today who is really committed towards social housing and improving the lives of the Chilean population."

Watch the film on the Guardian website 

Los Angeles

"Our current economic model makes mass ownership impossible in the long run."Finn Wiliams, Curator of the British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2016

In California, the traditional model of 'one family, one house' is changing. Older people are living longer, while many young people can't afford their own place. Three homes under one roof gives this big California family companionship ...and a nicer house. As Americans live longer and kids struggle to move out, coudl multigenerational living be a new model for the suburban dream home? 

Watch the film on the Guardian website