Inspiring future cities and urban services: shaping the future of urban development and services initiative

The World Economic Forum has released a new report, Inspiring Future Cities & Urban Services. The report highlights the emerging technologies and business models that are changing the way urban services are delivered and proposes a 10-step action plan to enable cities to navigate the journey of urban transformation. Cities are growing at a rapid rate, with the global urban population set to increase by 2.5 billion by 2050. People continue to migrate to cities for better economic, social and creative opportunities. Growing cities are dense in terms of land use and, at the same time, are difficult to govern because of their diverse social and economic fabric. While cities battle issues such as climate change, social segregation and economic development, they increasingly have to do so with fewer resources as they face budgetary constraints and battle with suboptimal devolution of funds and functions. City administrations are using emerging business models and technologies to deliver services. The use of technology and changing ownership models have disrupted the way excess capacities within cities are efficiently utilized. However, technology is not a silver-bullet solution to urban problems. To holistically address such problems cities need to transform planning, governance and regulatory aspects.