We face a stark reality: if those of us involved in shaping cities – national governments, local government, businesses, civic society and citizens – make the wrong decisions now, we could be faced with cities that, in as little as ten years, are becoming unliveable. It does not, however, need to be this way.
This paper maps out four possible future scenarios for cities, to explore how our urban spaces could potentially change and develop over the next decade, as well as the strategic implications for stakeholders. The four models work from worst through to best case scenario, exploring the key characteristics and defining features of each potential outcome.
Our actions today have a direct impact on which of these futures becomes a reality – which is why the paper also outlines our ‘Six Principles of Urbanisation’. These act as a guide and inspiration for successful urbanisation going forward.
We outlined and envisioned four possible future cities scenarios, from most to least likely :
: Adapting and Evolving - In this ‘most likely scenario’, cities will evolve by retrofitting existing infrastructure and social resilience will become as important as physical resilience.
: Green and Flourishing - In the ‘best case scenario’, people flourish alongside the environment. The positive elements of urban life can thrive and the returns from eco-system restoration are clear.
: Exhausting and Depleting - The ‘worst case scenario’ depicts a future in which urban planning and construction have failed entirely to address environmental concerns and social inequality. The city has been depleted of all its vibrancy and negates the positive aspects of urbanisation.
: Collective and Vitalising - A ‘possible future scenario’ is a city designed for society holistically, using data and digitisation to enhance quality of life for all residents. The city is focused on equitability, health and safety.
To help secure our future today, we have developed Six Principles of Urbanisation. These areas of opportunity – designed to lead us to probable or possible cities of the future – are explained in detail in this section of the report.
: Climate Prepared - Protects citizens against man-made and natural disasters, whilst ensuring the built environment is greener, more efficient, and becomes a net generator of energy and other crucial resources
: Resilient - Copes with fast paced change and external shocks - and still provides economic viability and an attractive, reliable place for citizens to live
: Desirable - Raises the standard for quality of life to attract and retain residents, occupiers and investment
: Responsive - Uses the best of human skills and emerging technology – to optimise spaces, mobility and wellbeing, whilst prioritising connectivity to improve quality of life
: Equitable - Houses diverse groups of people and businesses who coexist harmoniously, and ensures fair and equal access to amenities, employment, services, business, culture and nature
: Polycentric - Disrupts the traditional model – whereby a city develops outwards from a single economic middle – instead promoting a series of smaller centres for accessibility, walkability and convenience
This is just a snippet of the Shaping of Future Cities report. Click below to download the full report PDF.
READ THE FULL REPORT
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