The Foresight Future of Cities

Imagining what the city of the future will look like has fascinated architects, designers and science fiction film makers. As such, the government has set up a project entitled Foresight Future of Cities with a panel of experts to attempt to formulate how the cities of the future will look.

Four challenges

The future city needs to respond to four challenges that face the United Kingdom: population growth, an ageing population, health changes and economic shifts.

The tools

The tools that designers and architects use have evolved dramatically in the last few decades. Architects now use computer software to aid design, and as the software develops in the years to come, it will enable the creation of more complex urban spaces and urban systems. For example, building information modelling software can be involved in all three stages of a building project: planning, construction and the day to day management.

Community engagement

The Foresight project engages many members of the community in a consultation process that finds out what people want from their cities in the future. Children have contributed as they will be the citizens living there.


Many of the contributors to the Foresight project see the major feature of future cities as being the environment. This involves improved green spaces and sustainable energy systems. Farming facilities could be incorporated into urban spaces to provide a portion of a city’s food requirements.

Another important aspect is seeing cities as a number of interdependent systems. Changing one aspect of a system can affect other elements. Traffic and energy policies affect the health and well being of the inhabitants.

Planning can tackle health issues like obesity. Green spaces promote an active lifestyle and creating access to healthy foods can improve wellness.

The Foresight Future of Cities project is engaging large numbers of people in the process of planning how the cities of the future need to develop.

Posted by Matt Hughes
October 22, 2015

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