Future cities are designed to address the needs of the population. Urban planners should strive to transform or create cities to be livable, green, efficient, economically and socially successful, and an attractive place nurturing talent and entrepreneurship. Innovation is key to create future proof cities and communities that can adapt to future changes.
Smart city strategies typically focus on improving the quality of life and services in urban areas through the use of (digital) technology. These strategies seek to increase the efficiency of city services, encourage economic growth, reduce environmental impacts, and create more livable cities. However, the most valuable asset of cities are people. Therefore, collaboration between government, businesses, non-profit organizations and citizens, to improve the life of people is the basis for successful implementation.
In today’s global economy, cities are the engines of innovation and creativity and collaboration, driving economic growth. However, with rapid growth comes the challenge of how to create and maintain an innovation ecosystem that allows actors, such as universities, research institutions, businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, and government, to interact to create and share new ideas, products, and services. The key components of successful innovation are collaboration, technology, investment, infrastructure, and talent.
Digitalization, innovation, supply chain distortions, covid-19, geopolitical shifts and climate change are affecting cities and their economies around the globe. Economic development nowadays is creating an economy that is resilient to outside economic shocks and disruption, creating a diverse economic base, leveraging on existing assets and competences, fostering entrepreneurship and embracing opportunities based on smart specialization. International trade and investment, as well as positioning yourself in the global economy are more important than ever, so is regional and international collaboration.
The future of cities is sustainable. Sustainability is not a choice anymore, it is an absolute necessity and also a joint responsibility. To become more resilient to climate change, sustainable development in future cities will involve a combination of strategies and technologies that reduce energy consumption, reduce waste, and promote the use of renewable energy sources. In addition, future cities will need to develop sustainability strategies in the social context (education, inclusivity, better and healthier living environments) as well as economical (diversification, circular economy, corporate social responsibility).
Successful cities are inclusive communities that are responsive to the needs of individuals, families, and organizations, through public-private partnerships, public forums to discuss and develop ideas for city planning and development, and efforts to involve citizens in the decision-making process. Other initiatives could include educational programs to teach citizens about the benefits of sustainable development and incentives for businesses to create jobs and invest in the local economy. Finally, cities should also develop strategies to ensure access to basic amenities and services, such as transportation, housing, and healthcare, for all citizens.