Imagine a downtown that changes from a commercial center during the day to a vibrant cultural district at night, and is served by transportation hubs that facilitate multiple modes of travel. The surrounding neighborhoods are comprised of mixed-use residential buildings that contain adaptable micro-units to accommodate single residents and entire families with systems that recycle grey water to support rooftop farms. The entire urban landscape becomes an interactive canvas, providing new outlets for entertainment and exchange, and reflecting the sentiment of its populace. Within this context, the actions of individual residents help positively impact the fabric of daily life, as they come together to share information, experiences and even physical goods with one another, raising the collective value of their communities.
The UN estimates that by 2050 there will be 10 billion people living on the planet AND 75% of them in cities. With such a large percentage of the population predicted to be living, working and socializing in urban centers, the traditional construct of today’s cities will have to radically change to support the needs of their citizens. Current models for housing, food, education, transportation, energy and infrastructure will need to be re-imagined to sustain such large numbers of residents and allow them to thrive.
Aided by connected technologies, social platforms and flexible design thinking, many cities across the globe are already beginning to implement progressive solutions to many of these challenges. When viewed as a whole, these innovations begin to create a compelling blueprint for transforming the way urban centers are developed and how they continue to grow and operate.
Beyond access to the basic necessities, cities must aspire to provide a higher quality of life by promoting environmental initiatives, beautification projects and shared systems and encouraging citizens, public services and businesses to work together to improve their communities.
With our Future Of Cities report, PSFK Labs will contribute its point of view to this exciting conversation, showcasing 28 key trends that are helping to define the Future of Cities. To help understand their larger significance, the trends have been organized into five macro themes: Maximized Space, Sensible City, Citizen Sourced, Urban Canvas and Green Scaping. Each trend is accompanied by descriptions of best-in-class manifestations and a list of related experts that readers can tap into further conversation. We hope that this report offers inspiration for developers, planners, local governments and citizens to help remake their own cities and neighborhoods.