Policy Hub:
The Future of Cities Report

The Future of Cities report

“The Future of Cities, Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward” has been produced as a “Science for Policy” report by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) within the European Commission and was launched publicly in the European Parliament building in Brussels in October 2019.

The full report comes in at over 160 pages, with a 12 page Executive Summary also available.

Conceived in many ways as the successor to the 2011 Cities of Tomorrow report, the multi-authored publication completed in April 2019 included inputs from numerous other EC Directorate Generals, from the Committee of the Regions and from the CEMR and Eurocities networks. The stated key aim of the report is to raise open questions and steer discussions on the future of cities “within the science and policymaker communities”. In that sense, its authors described it as very much the beginning as opposed to the culmination of a process.

The report underlines in its introduction that the EU takes an integrated, place-based approach to policymaking related to urban development. It highlights the interconnectivity between various types of territories including urban, peri-urban and rural areas and also contains a number of statistical comparisons between rural and urban areas. 

The report sets out “eight key areas of challenge” for cities:

  • Affordable housing
  • Mobility
  • Provision of services
  • Ageing
  • Urban health
  • Social segregation
  • Environmental footprint
  • Climate action

It goes on to posit six possible “perspectives, towards solutions”:

  • Space and the city
  • Tech and the city
  • Cities as innovation hubs
  • The citizen’s city
  • Urban governance
  • The resilient city

The report concludes with a series of eight “main messages”, the full report also includes a section on related research and policy questions which it considers as “still to be addressed”

Last updated: 9 September, 2020