Urbanization, the transportation revolution, and the emergence of technology-enabled infrastructure will transform cities to an extent not seen since the industrial revolution. How are public and private-sector leaders approaching these investments and the accompanying changes in consumer behavior?
The City Is Being Reinvented
Where and how people live drives what they buy, how they vote, and what services they need. We are at the cusp of a transformation whose impacts reach far beyond the city planners and developers who have traditionally been concerned with these issues. The changes in the emerging urban world will affect all businesses, investors, and public servants who engage with people at scale.
As is the case in all transformations – there will be winners and losers. Some businesses will fail to identify the impact of these changes on their operations and be marginalized or destroyed, others will reinvent themselves to the benefit of their teams and investors. New companies will emerge, unburdened by the need to sustain old models. Cities that fail to participate in this transformation will lose the most valuable resource in the modern economy – human talent – to their peers who manage to adapt. This is a broad, multidisciplinary shift that must be evaluated beyond the single lens or area of expertise with which most organizations are comfortable.
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World populations are increasingly moving to urban centers, dramatically increasing population densities worldwide. The result of these pressures is more large cities and megacities worldwide, which creates a new set of transportation, sanitation, and infrastructure requirements for cities, and changes market dynamics for companies.
We are in the early stages of a revolution in transportation and urban mobility. This consists of the business model shift towards transportation-as-a-service, emerging electric and autonomous vehicle technologies, and the congestion issues that are exacerbated by urbanization. Mobility drives the physical footprint of cities and is integral to most sectors of economic activity.
Technology-enabled infrastructure, with embedded sensors and other data collection and projection capabilities that have never before existed are coming online. Politics aside, new infrastructure has to be built across the US due to the generational replacement cycles, and the emerging capabilities and data generation opportunities enabled by these systems will change the way we think of cities.
Public health and sustainability issues are being exacerbated by the scale and density of cities around the world and have become a regional and national competitiveness issue. New technologies are emerging to address these issues, many of which require a reimagining of facilities and construction in dense urban environments.
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