Bloomberg has a story about how “Ikea, along with developer Ikano Bostad and design lab Space10, has embarked on a project to help solve the challenges facing cities confronted with growing urbanization, aging populations, soaring housing prices and a lack of natural resources.”

The premise is that “in a crowded urban future, kitchens, hallways and dining areas will be shared by multiple families, furniture will be robotic and closets can be shrunk when not in use.”

Among the innovations that Ikea envisions are a “more modular refrigerators that can be adapted to suit certain foods or robotic furniture that can save space in small rooms.”

The Bloomberg story goes on to say that “the size of the homes could range from two-family households to large hotel-like complexes featuring hundreds of bedrooms depending on need and cultural preferences … Residential compounds could feature joint kitchens and dining areas and places for fitness and play activities. Bedrooms, toilets and closets would still be separate since studies have shown people are less open to sharing these spaces.”

KC's View: If the projections are right and we are moving toward a more urban future, with all these kinds of changes in how people live and move, it’ll also mean that there will be dramatic changes in how people show and cook and eat. I’m not saying this all is going to happen tomorrow or even next week, month or year. But I do think it behooves companies and their leaders to start figuring out now what this changed future might mean to them, and then start laying out potential solutions.

Otherwise, you get caught flat-footed with business models and stores that could end up being obsolete.