Cities are changing in pace with the rest of the world. Very quickly. As digitalisation creeps into every aspect of city dwellers’ lives, the emergence of more fluid and faster interconnected urban systems is definitely not far away. Technology can be an excellent accelerator, provided that the real uses and needs in changing cities are clearly identified at the earliest possible stage. SUEZ is focussing on six challenges to build a model of the city of tomorrow that meets the expectations of local authorities, who are demanding well-being and a high standard of communal life for their inhabitants.
How can we guarantee, or even improve the quality of life of inhabitants in the most densely populated cities? Guaranteed water quality, improved air quality, clean streets, waste collection and security are all factors that contribute to the quality of life in a city.
Population growth and rampant urbanisation are fuelling the geometric expansion of urban areas and densification in areas that are already under stress. By 2030, the total surface area of urban areas is expected to increase three-fold, while the population inhabiting them is only expected to double, from 3.84 billion to 4.9 billion people, or 60% of the worldwide population. This urbanisation will weigh heavily on natural resources on a major scale, putting pressure on available land, ecosystems and biodiversity.
Cities are facing increasing competition from each other, mainly due to globalisation. To boost their economic development, they must attract business, commerce and investment, as well as new residents by offering an attractive living environment (cultural facilities, residential areas, green spaces, schools etc.).
Attractiveness boosts competitiveness. A region has all the more chance of being competitive when it is able to attract new economic resources.
So the issue of regional attractiveness is now a key priority in regional development policy.
We are seeing new forms of urban organisation whereby every citizen can participate in debates and help make decisions. So tomorrow’s city has a duty to be: