Article

Transitioning to a ‘future-fit’ city

Cities are being forced to adapt at a pace and scale never experienced before, to respond to climate change, rapid economic transition and shifting quality-of life expectations. How can cities be “future-fit”?

February 05, 2020

Cities are being forced to adapt at a pace and scale never experienced before, with huge pressures to move to a low-carbon future and to respond to climate change, rapid economic transition and shifting quality-of life expectations.

Many of these pressures are most intense in those high-momentum cities in emerging economies where the challenges of absorbing rapid demographic, social and economic change are most acute. Nonetheless, several cities that are performing well in JLL’s City Momentum Index are showing that it is possible to break through and to compete more effectively by:

  • Continually investing and reinvesting in infrastructure to unlock and upgrade new locations;
  •  Adopting urban tech and scalable smart-city solutions to improve quality of life, business efficiency and city management;
  • Pivoting to the innovation economy, and leveraging innovation and technology to improve inclusion and to transition to a low-carbon environment;
  • Taking active steps to build efficiency and long-run sustainability, by embracing the circular economy and focusing on micro-mobility;
  • Ensuring buildings and cities are resilient to the effects of climate change, through implementing design principles that reduce the effects of flooding, extreme heat and weather events;
  • Improving transparency to create a more favourable business operating environment and to help compete more effectively for much-needed capital;
  • Focusing on their physical real estate assets, urban transformation and the ‘art’ of placemaking, so that they can incorporate new living and working patterns, growth in high-experience locations, transport oriented densification and sustainable development.

How do cities succeed at these? One common ingredient is the role of governance and leadership, which is sometimes overlooked when assessing cities’ future potential. The ever more complex nature of city transformation relating to the innovation economy, climate mitigation and geopolitical agility, all point to a city’s governance system being increasingly elemental to a city being ‘future fit’ for the coming decades.

For more insight, check our City Momentum Index 2020 report

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