Cities are vital to the future global economy. By 2050 more than 70% of the global population will live in cities. They are more economically productive and have a lower environmental footprint per capita than the average for their country. But cities are also struggling with climate change, changes in population and demographics, congestion, healthcare and pressure on key resources. To succeed in the future, cities have to deliver economic activity, quality of life and a lower environmental footprint. This cannot be delivered by optimising the separate components of the city infrastructure. New integrated and city-wide solutions are required.

The market is large and growing. Over £6.5tn will be invested globally in city infrastructure over the next 10-15 years, and the accessible market for integrated city systems is estimated to be £200bn a year by 2030.

The UK has strengths to exploit this market. By encouraging collaboration between business, city governments, community groups and the science and research base, the Future Cities SIG aims to help UK-based companies capture a greater share of this growing global market.

From conversations with many cities and businesses that seek to serve them, we understand that it is no longer sufficient to address the different city systems in silos: instead it is vital to create integrated solutions, and to put the citizen at the heart of the city.