The WSP Global Cities Index: A Tale of Our Cities provides insights about how cities are preparing for a future shaped by the major transitions of our day: urbanisation, density and growth, digital disruption, emerging mobility, evolving utilities models and a changing climate.

While most attention is focused on the comparison of cities today – how liveable, competitive or resilient they are – we have turned our lens to the future and explored how cities are identifying and responding to the challenges they will face in the coming two decades, and beyond.

The research, which has been completed by more than 100 technical experts that live and work in the 24 cities that were assessed, goes beyond  rankings. It reveals best-practice examples of placemaking, mobility, technology and urban systems, from cities that are primed for the future.


Long-term planning is critical: Copenhagen is an example of a city looking out to the horizon and getting a dividend from prior foresight. The cities with long-term plans (beyond 2035) are Auckland, Seoul, Sydney, Melbourne, Stockholm and London.

Key issues demanding attention: Housing, both the cost and availability, followed by public transport are universal priorities. Climate change is also growing in importance. Even among cities where planning for climate change is not a priority, most have blueprints to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With a few exceptions, all have set a target, ranging from the extremely ambitious to the conservative.

Amenity matters: Investment in more parks and public spaces, street space for pedestrians and bicycles as well as parking provisions are all making cities more liveable.

Future mobility is key: The movement of people and goods is increasingly being shaped by converging technological and social trends including the rapid growth of car and ride sharing, electric cars and, self-driving and autonomous vehicles.

Technology and the built environment are intersecting: The digital transformation of cities is creating smart and engaged communities where data is the new currency. Seattle, Washington DC, Seoul, Stockholm and Calgary lead on the Technology metrics.

Urban systems are transitioning towards sustainability: Power generation and distribution, water treatment and distribution as well as waste management are increasingly important and North American cities are leading the charge.

 Our research is intended to help government decision and policy-makers, captains of industry, financiers, academia and other professionals be future-focused by leveraging the best-practice policies and initiatives that are being deployed around the world.

Download WSP Global Cities Index 2018: A Tale of Our Cities

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