Cities Of The Future

Cities, and those that live in them, are becoming one of the most influential factors shaping the future of the planet. How we design and re-develop our cities will determine the long-term viability of earth’s environment and its inhabitants.


The exponential growth of cities and regional areas will have a critical impact on ecosystems worldwide. Cities of the Future – Anticipating Trends and Possibilities was produced by Future iQ in 2015 and provides an in-depth look at emerging trends impacting cities and the communities within them. This publication is meant to be a resource for people to use to anticipate what may be possible in their own cities as they explore and meet the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.

Future iQ predicts that cities will lead the way in meeting the current challenges of poverty and public health with innovative holistic change that addresses the inequities and inequalities of the past to meet the additional challenges of a post-COVID world.

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Future iQ predicts that cities will lead the way in meeting the current challenges of poverty and public health with innovative holistic change that addresses the inequities and inequalities of the past to meet the additional challenges of a post-COVID world.


The urbanisation of cities, suburbs and regional areas, combined with an ageing demographic are placing significant pressures on global resources, supplies and services. Cities need to plan ahead for these trends by creating foundational pillars that build resiliency and sustainability into regional ecosystems.

Future iQ Predictions

Driven by need, there will be a convergence of public and private interests, and technology will enable city governments and private industry to combine efforts to better prepare and care for people and the environment.

  • Housing will be more integrated into mixed use neighbourhoods with local amenities which better meet the needs of households with fewer children and an aging population.
  • Concerns for food security, health and wellbeing will lead to the development of more localised food systems including urban agriculture, food sharing, online shopping and drone delivery.
  • Anticipating autonomous vehicles, streets will be transformed to spaces shared by automobiles, cyclists, pedestrians, and other modes of transportation and there will be additional initiatives that improve safety on streets.
  • Technology and changing societal values will lead to a variety of workplaces and work styles such as working from home, and people will mix work and leisure time, therefore wanting to live and work in their community.

Exponential advancements in technology are continuing to expand connectivity of all kinds for city dwellers.


Using technology, future cities will integrate smart infrastructure management systems such as water, energy, waste management and transportation to provide improved service to residents and businesses, protect the environment, save costs, and provide healthy environments for all inhabitants.

Future iQ Predictions

Smart infrastructure management systems will require the open collection and use of public and private data. People will accept and embrace this technology.

  • Real time monitoring and reporting technologies will enable people to avoid congestion areas on roadways and trails thereby saving energy and time.
  • Waste management systems will transition to close-loop systems; from solid waste management to sustainable materials management.
  • Smart controls and meters will monitor everything from water usage to ventilation to heating and lighting, and the internet of things (IoT) will link adaptable interiors in buildings and appliances to allow the most efficient use of resources.
  • Cities will move towards managing energy in a hierarchy of conservation, local renewable energy production and connection to the regional grid, and also generate energy onsite to improve energy security and provide energy where it is needed.

As cities adopt and integrate new technology and connectivity, coordination across regions and megaregions involves greater sharing of processes and data, thus requiring increased transparency and consistent protection of citizen assets and privacy.


To mitigate and reverse the impacts of climate change, GIS mapping will allow cities to incorporate and mimic the natural processes and functions of ecosystems including water, nutrient energy and waste cycles.

Future iQ Predictions

City dwellers and civic leaders will become increasingly environmentally conscious, with a focus on improved air quality, reducing noise pollution and creating habitat areas.

  • Urban design and management will incorporate natural systems and close-looped systems, and sustainability concepts are integrated into decision making processes for all city planning activities.
  • Cities will regenerate the urban forest by planting trees and other vegetation in green spaces and roadways and ecological restoration will be a part of green space management including water bodies and endangered species and communities.
  • A holistic approach to human health will incorporate online social networks that build communities centred around healthy activities and lifestyles that would otherwise be non-existent, and health status is monitored in real time through apps and sensors.
  • Cities will shift from traditional fossil fuel-based energy to renewable energy sources and multimodal transportation options to mitigate the impacts of human activity on the environment.


In a post-COVID world, the challenge to city leadership will be to apply lessons learned to build sustainable and resilient environments for all citizens, including our most vulnerable.