Equilibrium Cities Macrotrend Summary

category - future cities
type - trends
sector - media & technology
sector - retail
sector - travel & hospitality
Citizens are demanding a more receptive and equitable built environment that will allow future urban generations, nature and businesses to thrive. We explore this future in our macrotrend, Equilibrium Cities. Download the free macrotrend summary now

The pandemic has sapped the energy of urban life. Revealing stark inequalities between the lived experience of global citizens, Covid-19 is exposing issues of urban safety, public services, access to green spaces, and the need for immediate change. The ability of our metropolitan areas to support us during times of crisis is being questioned as global urban centres are hollowed out – dubbed the ‘Polo-mint effect’ by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – with many people remaining reticent about re-entering central districts following the pandemic.

With 68% of the planet’s citizens predicted to live in cities by 2050, this demands new approaches to how our streets and spaces are used, alongside a reframing of who and what the priorities are for our future cities (source: UN).

As we move through the 2020s, the priorities of the city will change further. We can expect more blended developments that turn office blocks and industrial spaces into destinations of culture, creativity and community, while citizens’ mental and physical wellbeing will dictate the design of new building projects. As urban planner and geographer Dr Angelos Varvarousis says: ‘The pandemic has made it clear how much we need social relations, how much we need other ways of feeling good beyond consumerism and consumption.’

In turn, the flow of the city will evolve as infrastructure, logistics and energy supplies tune in to local needs, challenging global firms to downscale, decentralise and align themselves with varying communities’ values.

What does this mean for the future? By 2030, the world’s Equilibrium Cities will be built on a foundation of nature, but they will evolve through intersectional architecture, new economic models and responsive healthcare – some will even establish new populations in the virtual realm.

A macrotrend summary of this research is now available to download for free below. Members of our trends intelligence platform, LS:N Global, get full access to all of our macrotrend research, as well as daily news, statistics, webinars, events and more. Click here to find out more.


Published by:

8 October 2021

Author: Kathryn Bishop and Savannah Scott

Image: Planet City by Liam Young



Download the macrotrend summary


Objects for a New Kind
of Society

This month, Dutch Invertuals and The Future Laboratory present Objects for a New Kind of Society, a new exhibition based on our research into Equilibrium Cities. Together, we explore how design can foster our future cities, where collective ownership, fluid identities and nature will thrive. 

We invite you to join the exhibition at Dutch Design Week in the Netherlands. Find out more below.

Find out more