Collection

Future of cities

Foresight project which looked at the opportunities and challenges facing UK cities over the next 50 years.

Cities matter to the UK. They are the concentrations of the UK’s population, trade, commerce, cultural and social life. They are also the sites where most of the UK’s future growth, both population and economic, is forecast to occur. The UK’s future is now closely linked to that of its cities.

Science can play an invaluable role in supporting the analysis, design and action shaping this urban future. The aim of this project was to provide policy makers with the evidence, tools and capabilities needed to support policy decisions in the short term to lead to positive outcomes for the UK’s cities in the long term.

The project was organised around 6 main themes:

  • living in cities
  • urban economies
  • urban metabolism
  • urban form
  • urban infrastructure
  • urban governance

In order to develop the evidence base, we organised 19 city visits, seed-funded a number of local city projects, and commissioned a series of working papers, essays and blogs. We created a number of forums to uncover means by which policy-makers can increasingly think through a ‘cities lens’. We also developed a number of future scenarios to allow policy makers to explore critical policy options for city development.

Expert group

The project was guided by a lead expert group, who provided oversight and ensured that relevant evidence and research was used.

Project reports

Final outputs from the Future of Cities project.

  1. Future of cities: overview of evidence

    • Research and analysis
  2. Future of cities: science of cities

    • Research and analysis
  3. Future of cities: foresight for cities

    • Research and analysis
  4. Future of cities: graduate mobility

    • Research and analysis

Working papers

The project is informed by a number of independent working papers, developed by experts from across academia and industry, and peer reviewed by independent academics. These papers provide analysis of the future issues facing cities in the UK.

  1. Future of cities: city leadership in the UK

    • Research and analysis
  2. Future of cities: urban metabolism

    • Research and analysis
  3. Future of cities: ecosystem services

    • Research and analysis
  4. Future of cities: public policy

    • Research and analysis
  5. Future of cities: land, rent and housing in UK cities

    • Research and analysis
  6. Future of cities: coping with change

    • Research and analysis
  7. Future of cities: the cultural dimension

    • Research and analysis
  8. Future of cities: comparative urban governance

    • Research and analysis
  9. Future of cities: a visual history of the future

    • Research and analysis
  10. Future of cities: evolving economic performance of UK cities

    • Research and analysis
  11. Future of cities: origins, meanings and uses

    • Research and analysis
  12. Future of cities: people in cities - the numbers

    • Research and analysis
  13. Future of cities: urban form and infrastructure

    • Research and analysis

Essays

The project is also informed by a number of independent essays, developed by important thinkers in the future of cities arena.

  1. Future of cities: UK-China city relationships

    • Research and analysis
  2. Future of cities: current foresight practice

    • Research and analysis
  3. Future of cities: cities and health

    • Research and analysis
  4. Future of cities: land value capture

    • Research and analysis
  5. Future of cities: mega transport projects

    • Research and analysis
  6. Future of cities: urban commons and public spaces

    • Research and analysis
  7. Future of cities: growth coalitions

    • Research and analysis
  8. Future of cities: technology workshop

    • Research and analysis
  9. Future of cities: universities and cities

    • Research and analysis
  10. Future of cities: development underground

    • Research and analysis
  11. Future of cities: smart cities, citizenship skills and the digital agenda

    • Research and analysis
  12. Future of cities: smart infrastructure

    • Research and analysis
  13. Future of cities: green infrastructure and health

    • Research and analysis
  14. Future of cities: what will cities of the future be made of?

    • Research and analysis
  15. Future of cities: beyond 'peak car'

    • Research and analysis
  16. Future of cities: water and cities

    • Research and analysis
  17. Future of cities: what is the global view?

    • Research and analysis
  18. Future of cities: invest to save

    • Research and analysis
  19. Future of cities: active travel

    • Research and analysis
  20. Future of cities: investing in city regions - London and the UK system of cities

    • Research and analysis
  21. Future of cities: the business of cities

    • Research and analysis

Scenarios

Scenarios are versions of the future which can be represented by a combination of images and text. They can be used to help policy makers identify the best options for the present, as well as take advantage of opportunities in the future.

  1. Future of cities: health and healthcare

    • Research and analysis
  2. Future of cities: UK rail scenarios

    • Research and analysis
  3. Future of cities: visualising the future of Newcastle

    • Research and analysis
  4. Future of cities: framework for discussing disruptive factors

    • Research and analysis
  5. Future of cities: aspirational scenarios

    • Research and analysis
  6. Future of cities: UK scenarios

    • Research and analysis
  7. Future of cities: living in the city

    • Research and analysis

Workshop reports

  1. Future of cities: Rochdale workshop

    • Research and analysis
  2. Future of cities: international seminar

    • Research and analysis

Announcements

  1. Welcome to 'Newgatesland'

    • Authored article
  2. Future of cities launch

    • Speech
Published 26 June 2013
Last updated 22 August 2016 + show all updates
  1. Added new scenario papers and a report on UK-China relationships.
  2. Added the overview of evidence report.
  3. Added reports on the science of cities and foresight for cities.
  4. Added reports on UK and aspirational scenarios.
  5. Added report on a Rochdale workshop.
  6. Added essay on current foresight practice in cities.
  7. 'Future of cities: city leadership in the UK' added to working papers.
  8. Added essay on cities and health.
  9. Added final report on graduate mobility.
  10. Added essays on land value capture and mega transport projects.
  11. Added essays on urban commons and growth coalitions.
  12. Added essay on universities and cities and workshop report on technology.
  13. 'Future of cities: urban metabolism' added to working papers.
  14. 'Future of cities: ecosystem services' added to working papers.
  15. Added essay on development underground.
  16. Added 2 essays on smart cities.
  17. 'Future of cities: public policy' added to working papers.
  18. Added essays on green infrastructure, materials, and 'peak car'.
  19. 'Future of cities: land, rent and housing in UK cities' added to working papers.
  20. 'Future of cities: water and cities' added to essays.
  21. 'Future of cities: coping with change' added to working papers.
  22. 'Future of cities: what is the global view?' essay added.
  23. 'Invest to save' essay added.
  24. Sustrans essay on active travel added.
  25. Cultural dimension of cities working paper added.
  26. Added essay on London and the UK system of cities
  27. Added 'The business of cities' essay and the international seminar report.
  28. Added 'Future cities: comparative urban governance' (WP10)
  29. Added working papers on economic performance (WP4) and a visual history of the future (WP14).
  30. Working paper on the language of Future Cities added.
  31. First 3 working papers published under supporting evidence.
  32. First published.