Global research firm ThoughtLab has embarked on its fourth urban research program, “Building a Future-Ready City,” in collaboration with Hatch, a leading international engineering company. This groundbreaking study aims to examine how cities worldwide are planning to transform their urban environments to meet the post-pandemic expectations of citizens and address increasing demands for resiliency, sustainability, inclusiveness, and economic growth.
Recent market disruptions, including the pandemic, have intensified the need for urban transformation. City leaders are now faced with the imperative to adopt future-ready strategies to navigate a multitude of extraordinary challenges, such as technological advancements, climate change, safety concerns, deteriorating infrastructure, economic volatility, shifting citizen behaviors, expectations, and demographics.
Louis Celi, CEO of ThoughtLab and director of the research program, emphasized the current turbulent and complex landscape faced by urban leaders, describing it as “disruptive and perplexing.” He highlighted the need for fresh urban thinking in response to unprecedented social, environmental, technological, and economic shifts. The research program aims to provide city leaders with evidence-based analysis and actionable insights to help them chart a sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and future-ready path for their cities.
Over the coming months, ThoughtLab and Hatch Urban Solutions will conduct an extensive benchmarking study involving 200 cities across various regions, population sizes, and income levels. This study will examine these cities’ strategies, investments, and plans to become future-ready. Additionally, ThoughtLab will conduct a survey of 2,000 residents in six world regions to gauge how these cities’ plans align with changing citizen behaviors and expectations.
The research program will also include in-depth case studies of 15 cities, along with rigorous economic and social impact assessments to identify the most effective future-ready strategies. An eBook, benchmarking tool, and other decision support resources will be released in November 2022, along with key findings and calls to action announced at a global virtual summit organized with Smart Cities World and the 2022 Barcelona Smart City Expo World Congress. ThoughtLab will also launch a dedicated microsite providing regular updates on the program, including the latest analysis, valuable data resources, and shared content.
Chris Castro, Director of the Office of Sustainability and Resilience for the City of Orlando, emphasized the importance of future-ready cities in the post-pandemic world. He noted that these cities would leverage technology, innovation, and data to accelerate progress toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, enhance resilience, and transition to a zero-carbon economy. ThoughtLab’s research is expected to shed light on the path forward for cities in achieving these goals.
Actionable Roadmap for the Future
The “Building a Future-Ready City” study will provide city leaders with an evidence-based roadmap for preparing their cities for a transformed post-pandemic world. Key insights will include:
- Changing Citizen Behaviors: How citizens across various cities expect to alter their lifestyles, work, social interactions and travel within metropolitan areas.
- Future-Ready Strategies: The goals and investments these cities are focusing on across seven urban domains: living and health, mobility and transportation, environment and sustainability, energy and utilities, public safety, digital infrastructure, and economic development.
- Technology and Innovation: How cities will harness technology, innovation, and data, along with citizen engagement, partnerships, and new funding models, to achieve their social, environmental, and economic objectives and overcome urban challenges.
The research coalition for “Building a Future-Ready City” includes:
- Corporate Sponsors: Axis Communications, Cognizant, Dassault Systèmes, Dell Technologies, Deloitte, GM, Intel, JLL Technologies, Kearney, NTT, and Visa.
- Multilateral Organizations: World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and United Cities.
- Associations and Think Tanks: World Economic Forum, Smart Cities Council, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), FIWARE, Open Sustainability Collaborative, GO Smart, Anbound, Reimagining Cities, Renaissance Urbaine, Mobile Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), and Taipei Computer Association.
- Academic Institutions: Arizona State University, Carnegie Mellon University, IESE Business School, Nankai University, Peking University, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR), Rochester Institute of Technology – Dubai, Sogang University, Tsinghua University, University of Michigan, and University of Southern California.
- Government and Transportation Leaders from various cities around the world.
- Media Partners: Edelman and Smart Cities World.
The research program “Building a Future-Ready City” is set to provide city leaders with the knowledge and insights they need to prepare their cities for the post-pandemic era, addressing critical issues like sustainability, resilience, and inclusivity.
ThoughtLab is a thought leadership organization specializing in rigorous research and economic analysis. The firm assesses the economic, financial, and social impacts of technology on cities, businesses, industries, and global markets. ThoughtLab’s services include conducting surveys, organizing executive interviews and conferences, economic modeling, AI sentiment monitoring, benchmarking, performance analysis, and the creation of white papers, eBooks, infographics, and customer-facing analytical tools. Learn more at www.thoughtlabgroup.com.
With over six decades of experience in the mining, energy, and infrastructure sectors, Hatch is an engineering company that transforms clients’ ideas into design and reality. Hatch responds rapidly to the evolving challenges in these industries, providing innovative, efficient, and smart solutions. The company leverages the expertise of its 9,000 employees in over 150 countries to create positive change for clients, employees, and the communities it serves. Learn more at www.hatch.com.