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Urban Futures: Pathways to Tomorrow

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Publication date1/07/2022
Host publicationThe Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures
EditorsRobert Brears
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages6
ISBN (electronic)9783030518127
ISBN (print)9783030518127
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Urban futures have two principal components. The first responds to the significant transformation of the world in becoming an increasingly urban place. Over the last century, cities and suburbs worldwide have seen gradual, and in some instances rapid, population growth. The second refers to the unfolding or unknown conditions of how such areas, and those yet to still emerge, will be in the future. This latter aspect is often alloyed to technological developments due to the way futures are more widely perceived as being synonymous with technology. This is because these innovations have fundamentally changed how we live in the past, as well as where and why, and this often continues to be the case. However, profound changes in either of these two components present major challenges for urban areas, including cities. Urban futures, therefore, is a field that explores ways to tackle challenges in relation to climate change, social inequalities, pollution, lack of access to transportation and utility infrastructures, shortage of affordable housing, ageing etc. Given the complexity of these challenges, many of which are interrelated, it is perhaps no surprise that there are a variety of ways through which urban futures are conceived, designed, and implemented. These may share similar goals yet different drivers behind types of urban future has led to their characterisation including: equitable, healthy, resilient, smart, sustainable etc. The creation of urban areas for unpredicted and uncertain futures, therefore, requires and involves a broad range of disciplines.