An outline to futureproofing our cities with ten immediate steps

Barry D. Wilson
  • Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Urban Design and Planning, July 2018, ICE Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1680/jurdp.18.00004

Adapting cities to meet the challenges of climate emergency and creating better places to live.

Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

What is it about?

Using past metrics to plan future development is appearing to be a redundant model and a very costly one at that. We need to adjust the ongoing planning of our cities to an unknown, but very different future, to provide shock absorbers to change and to flexibly align our development thinking to that unknown future. The paper highlights key areas where changes to development need to be made immediately to align with UN sustainable development goals, climate change initiatives and smart city thinking.

Why is it important?

We are all waking up to the fact that the world we live in is changing very fast. Technology, business and social structures are rapidly evolving to meet new challenges. But cities are slow to respond. They take time to plan, finance and construct. And by the time they are built they are already out of date. There exists an urgent need to stop wasting resources and finance on business-as-usual planning approaches that have brought us to this rather desperate point.


barry wilson
University of Hong Kong

As a design and planning professional, the article is born out of my own frustrations with policy makers and land shapers who are just not reacting fast or sufficiently enough to the changing world. Solutions are out there and have been for some considerable time. I hope advocating some of these simple steps, which are not rocket science, might help to shift basic understanding and start to provide funding and managment in the right places. It's the 21st Century already!

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