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Smarter Safer Cities: 10 Trends Shaping The Future Of Urban Living

Smarter Safer Cities

The pandemic made governments rethink not just their healthcare strategies, but also urban lifestyles altogether. Experts suggested urban areas became a “ground zero” for this virus since most cases of COVID-19 were reported in metropolitan populations and potential risk in case of another similar crisis in the future.

The events of 2020 motivated people to espouse certain trends that are gradually leading up to the creation of smarter and healthier cities. Statistics indicate over 56% of the world’s populace thrived in urban areas two years ago. However, these numbers are expected to continue growing, which means metropolitical settlements must follow these trends closely. Let’s review some of these trends that have become dominant.

Researchers have observed that people are rapidly shifting from rural to urban places. It means that almost 2.22 billion people will migrate to urban settlements between 2020 and 2050. These migrations will have long-lasting effects on the real estate, urban planning, and construction industry, among others. People and governments should understand how integrating the technology and sustainability of our inner-city lifestyle can make cities healthier for the population. A smart city’s a safe city, especially with the expected incursion of future urban settlers in the upcoming three decades. Here’s a summary of some trends that are reshaping the future of urban living:

1. Real estate boom

Experts suggest the real-estate industry will continue growing this decade. Global, political, and technological changes will directly influence this sector. Therefore,  property investors and developers should learn modern-day skills and knowledge to maximize their stakes in the market. Online real estate programs can help professionals hone their know-how in economics, analytics, and construction and management to become more proficient.

2. Wellness promotion

The pandemic didn’t just compel entire populations to learn to survive indoors during a nationwide lockdown. It also made us realize that even without COVID, we’ve grown accustomed to spending most of our time indoors. For instance, a recent report shows Americans spend approximately 90% of their time inside a building where there might be more polluted than outside. Designing a sustainable building with improved ventilation with more sunlight flowing through can enhance residents’ wellness. That’s why urban development trends will focus on making greener buildings with fewer hazardous materials involved. As a result, buildings will become more eco-friendly and less dangerous.

3. Improved safety

With rising crimes, ensuring citizens’ safety has become a vital goal for urban city planners. People are aware that integrating more technology into metropolitan construction can promise better safety with 24/7 monitoring. For this reason, public spaces have more smart cameras and facial recognition devices for constant surveillance. Biometrics prevents criminals from accessing peoples’ homes and workplaces and breaching privacy. Moreover, AI can recognize these data patterns and make better decisions to catch criminals. Thus, expect technology to create more improved safety solutions in the future.

4. Roads remade

Trailblazing automotive startups like Tesla are slowly redefining transport in developed countries by developing self-driving vehicles. Statistics indicate that 10% of cars around the globe will become automated by 2030. It means self-driving vehicles will replace most of our buses, taxis, and ride-sharing cars. Electric transport becoming mainstream will also force urban planners to remake roads so drivers can use these vehicles comfortably.

However, multiple scenarios may occur in a world where self-driving vehicles will become popular. Some experts envision a future where pedestrians reclaim the roads and walking again becomes a major way to commute. This discussion brings us to the next point about people-oriented designs.

5. People-oriented design

Future urban living won’t be predominantly vehicle-focused but will become people-oriented. You can expect a future with the front-porch concept in which narrow-built streets and closely-located buildings encourage people to come together as a community. There can be stores within walking distance, spaces for cyclists, and high-performing sustainable buildings. These innovations have the potential to transform urban settlements and bring back buildings made for the people instead of sky-reaching concrete buildings.

6. Citizen empowerment

Smart cities create smarter citizens who are empowered to contribute to the betterment of society. So, smartphone applications enable them to report local issues and communicate their concerns to stakeholders. Urban areas are becoming more human-centric with citizens’ participation along with multidirectional governments that are more transparent.

7. Blue zones

In 2017, National Geographic published an article that mentioned five diverse areas in the world where populations seldom suffered from chronic diseases. There were fewer cases of cancer, people lived longer, and everyone was generally perceived as happier. What made these people so happy and healthy? Experts discovered that the inhabitants engaged in stress-reducing activities, focused on regular exercise, consumed alcohol moderately, and had adopted a semi-vegetarian diet.

Applying these principles to urban cities today can enhance the urban design and improve everyone’s well-being. Today, we have the example of the City of Worth (Texas) applying these remarkable guidelines citywide.

8. Multi-gen housing

Overpopulation promotes the reappearance of the housing model in which multiple generations reside together. Studies have shown that, during the previous fifty years, the number of Americans residing in multi-generational households has quadrupled. Moreover, we learn that every sixth American in 2020 resided with parents, grandparents, or other relatives. Also, the incursion of immigrants into the USA has accelerated a massive acceptance of this urban trend.

9. Energy efficiency

The term “smart energy” will become more widespread in the upcoming future. Urban spaces and places will become more energy efficient by reducing their carbon emissions after implementing the solutions experts suggest. These ethical, eco-friendly, and resource-efficiency methods make the world a better place and enhance everyone’s well-being. Some of these methods have already been utilized by some American city planners. Schenectady installed adjustable LEDs onto its streets that can be dimmed as per real-time data. These methods make an urban settlement self-sufficient, thereby giving its citizens more decision-making power. Hopefully, energy efficiency will become normal globally.

10. Protecting trees

Urban planners now realize integrating nature into living quarters must be more creative than tasteless and ordinary maneuvers. Removing nature from urban areas has become strictly prohibited because of the awareness regarding climate change. Urban planners realize that more trees should be planted now, and “heritage trees” must be protected from destruction. Going green has become an essential objective for city-planning communities in the 21st century because of global warming.


We’ve established that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of certain trends for improving people’s lives. These trends will have a significant influence on the future of urban planning, because of which it’s crucial for real estate agents to recognize them. Self-driving cars, multi-gen dwellings, and people-oriented designs will change how urban areas look in the future. Moreover, the health and security of citizens will also remain a concern for urban planners, and technology will help them provide these. The real-estate sector will undergo massive transformations in the coming years. Hence developers and investors can benefit from increased know-how and credentials to maximize the potential for opportunities that come their way.

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