Future City Predictions | The English Channel
Innovate UK

Future City Predictions


With over two-thirds of our population living in urban areas by 2050, the demands on cities’ services will increase significantly.

Technological improvements to our infrastructure will change the way citizens interact; artificial intelligence and the internet of things will allow the city to become smart, perhaps even allowing cities to think like a human brain. What changes can we expect?

• Cities will become greener and have more cycle and walking space, along with less pollution

• Buildings will generate their own energy from renewable sources and their design will be continually optimised thanks to smart data

• The high street will offer richer, interactive shopping experiences with augmented reality changing rooms

Smart buildings and sustainable cities

Be it a workplace, a hospital, school or library – public buildings will become smart and aware, constantly improving based on information they gather from themselves and the other buildings around them.

Buildings will also gather their energy sources themselves through developments like solar windows and surplus energy traded between nearby buildings and vehicles so that those in need never run dry. Through the data they have access to, they’ll run at optimum efficiency – aware of each of their occupants, keeping them at the right temperature and making sure they stay healthy and safe.

Shopping will also evolve – with augmented reality, AI and connected data all playing their part. Imagine walking into a clothes shop and being presented with an interactive changing room. The shop would instantly know your size and use AI to present you with a selection of clothing it thinks you would like based on your previous purchases and upcoming social calendar. Customisation of your choice will become available – tweak a design in an interactive mirror, and if it’s not in stock it can be delivered to your house by drone later that day.

More time for you

All of this will create more time for you, both socially and at work. AI and connected devices will play their part in the workplace too – automating things like waste collection pods to when demand in the city is high, and bringing care to people who need it.

Will this automation take over from people’s employment? The hope is it won't, but that instead we will see a shift so that people can focus on where they are needed most and provide a higher quality, more personal service.