Research and analysis

Future of cities: framework for discussing disruptive factors

A framework for assessing the possible effects of unlikely or unforeseen factors which could disrupt urban trends over the next 50 years.


Trends in urban development may be disrupted by processes and events that are normally considered too improbable to worry about or are entirely unforeseen.

This paper provides a framework to discuss these ‘disruptors’. It focuses on 5 types:

  • social
  • health
  • technological
  • environmental
  • political

The paper was commissioned as part of the Foresight future of cities project.