Future of Cities

Insights from Multiple Expert Discussions
Around the World

Overview

Cities are where innovation happens, where ideas form and where economic growth largely stems. They are where most of us live and are also where significant problems can emerge as well as where challenges can be magnified. Cities around the world are now wrestling with reducing air pollution, congestion and inequality, but they are also becoming test-beds for innovation that is then shared globally. Building on previous research, the Future Agenda team focused in depth on the Future of Cities via 12 discussions in 9 key cities between November 2014 and March 2017.

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This report shares the findings from this Future of Cities Open Foresight research project. It identifies and discusses some common challenges found in most urban areas today, and also explores several shared ambitions to create more healthy, accessible and intelligent cities. In addition, it highlights several important emerging concerns such as improving safety, resilience and collaboration. Some of the issues addressed are specific to key locations but most are universal and therefore of relevance to most cities.

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Future of Philanthropy - report

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Presentation

This is an accompanying presentation used for public conferences and to kick off briefings within organisations. It provides a summary of the research and highlights some of the key insights. It is available to download both as a PDF and also to view on SlideShare.

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World's Most Innovative Cities

In parallel with the Future of Cities project, over the past two years we have also been researching which are the most innovative cities in the past, the present and potentially in the future. Exploring multiple criteria, we have identified what we believe to be the key global catalysts for change. This presentation shares the insights. It profiles the 10 most innovative cities of the past, the 10 having greatest impact today, the key elements that contribute to a city being so innovative and, lastly, suggests candidates for future global leadership.

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Videos

The 10 Billion Population Challenge

A keynote at EmTech Asia Singapore exploring how cities will cope with the challenge of increasing migration and urbanisation. Linking together insights from the Future of Cities projects and additional Future Agenda research to share some of the key issues around providing enough energy, food and water in the right places.

Smart Cities – Smarter Citizens?

A keynote given at the “Zero Emission Cities” event in Vienna in 2014 focused on shifts in the focus of smart cities. Contrast is made between what is being embedded in city infrastructures to make them more intelligent and efficient and how people in cities can use, share and interpret data to make more intelligent decisions.

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Locations and Key Insights

Insights world map Map marker
  • >80%
  • 60% to 80%
  • 40% to 60%
  • 20% to 40%
  • <20%

Vienna

25.11.2014

Top 3 challenges

  1. Sustainability
  2. Urbanisation
  3. Migration

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Smart Cities
  2. Citizen Engagement
  3. Collaboration

Top 3 future issues

  1. Environmental Impact
  2. Setting Standards
  3. Accessibility

London

20.03.2015

Top 3 challenges

  1. Inequality
  2. Dense Cities
  3. Climate Change

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Healthy Cities
  2. Local Communities
  3. Open Data

Top 3 future issues

  1. Collaboration
  2. Privacy
  3. Food Security

Christchurch

24.03.2015

Top 3 challenges

  1. Resilience
  2. Car Dependency
  3. Urban Sprawl

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Creative Hubs
  2. Healthy Cities
  3. Sensing Cities

Top 3 future issues

  1. Better Governance
  2. Open Data
  3. New Models

Dubai

22.04.2015

Top 3 challenges

  1. Migration
  2. Attracting Talent
  3. Safe Cities

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Smart Cities
  2. Midi Cities
  3. Healthy Cities

Top 3 future issues

  1. Ageing Populations
  2. New Models
  3. City Branding

Singapore

11.05.2015

Top 3 challenges

  1. Urbanisation
  2. Flooding
  3. Inequality

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Denser Cities
  2. Sustainable Cities
  3. Safe Cities

Top 3 future issues

  1. City Competition
  2. Citizen Engagement
  3. Mobility On-Demand

Dehli

21.07.2015

Top 3 challenges

  1. Air Quality
  2. Managing Growth
  3. Inequality

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Smart Cities
  2. Electric Vehicles
  3. Waste Management

Top 3 future issues

  1. Collaboration
  2. Competition
  3. Governance

Dubai

31.03.2016

Top 3 challenges

  1. Sustained Growth
  2. Global Competitiveness
  3. Collaboration

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Public Innovation
  2. Clean Transport
  3. Connectivity

Top 3 future issues

  1. Smart Cities
  2. Regional Leadership
  3. Attracting Talent

Beirut

02.06.2016

Top 3 challenges

  1. Traffic Congestion
  2. Waste Management
  3. Migration

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Public Transport
  2. Redevelopment
  3. Improving Health

Top 3 future issues

  1. Collective Leadership
  2. City Collaboration
  3. Food Security

Singapore

14.07.2016

Top 3 challenges

  1. Inequality
  2. Security
  3. Dense Cities

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Accessibility
  2. Wellness
  3. City Cooperation

Top 3 future issues

  1. Inclusive Design
  2. Partnership Models
  3. Open Data

Guayaquil

14.11.2016

Top 3 challenges

  1. Flooding Risk
  2. Migration
  3. Resilience

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Healthier Cities
  2. Governance
  3. Collaboration

Top 3 future issues

  1. Cities not Countries
  2. Inequality
  3. Competition

London

02.03.2017

Top 3 challenges

  1. Air Quality
  2. Sustainable Scaling
  3. Coping Strategies

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Public Private Partnerships
  2. Ageing Populations
  3. -

Top 3 future issues

  1. Social Models
  2. Unemployment
  3. Cities Not Countries

Toronto

19.03.2017

Top 3 challenges

  1. Inequality
  2. Sustainable Scaling
  3. Competition

Top 3 opportunities

  1. Healthier Cities
  2. Improved Governance
  3. Digitisation

Top 3 future issues

  1. Tolerance
  2. Attracting Talent
  3. Collaboration

Event Cities – Population (2017)

COUNTRYTOTAL
Beirut2.3m
Christchurch0.4m
Dheli18.6m
Dhubai3.0m
Guayaquil2.7m
London8.7m
Singapore5.6m
Toronto2.8m
Vienna1.8m

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About Future Agenda

Future Agenda runs the world’s largest open foresight programme and provides strategic advice to leading organisations globally. In 2010 and 2015 we undertook major worldwide research leading hundreds of expert workshops across over 20 topics. The insights from these discussions have been shared in two major publications – ‘The World in 2020’ and ‘The World in 2025’.

Each year, the Future Agenda team undertakes in-depth global open foresight research projects on key themes of interest. In 2016 the focus was the Future of Cities. In 2017 it was the Future of Philanthropy and the Future of Patient Data. The primary topic for 2018 is the Future Value of Data. All our research is openly shared under the Creative Commons Non Commercial license.