GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

The Future of Cities: Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward


Cities have an important role to play in pushing forward societal change. Cities are increasingly embracing innovation and novel technologies and, thanks to the concentration of people, ideas and resources, they are leading the way towards solutions to global challenges beyond their own boundaries. City networks and associations play an increasingly crucial and recognised role in shaping global agreements. The importance of cities in contributing towards a sustainable way of living for all is recognised in the Urban Agenda for the EU and in global agendas such as the New Urban Agenda.

Europe can further enhance its role as a key player in worldwide city development discussions both through its extensive policy experience and with regard to science and knowledge production. The fruitful interaction between EU institutions and European cities has great potential to make Europe a world reference point in identifying, experimenting and applying solutions to the future challenges that cities will face.

This report identifies challenges influencing the future of cities in Europe and beyond. It also presents several perspectives from which to look at resolving these issues. It is an initiative of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the science and knowledge service of the European Commission (EC), supported by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO). The main aim is to raise open questions and steer discussions on what the future of cities can, and should be, both within the scientific and policymaker communities.