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Whither cities?
Smart cities of the future

How often do you think about
the future of cities?

We are truly living in the century of the city. More than half the world’s population now lives in towns and cities. Civic leaders around the world are adopting smart city technology and solutions to address the challenges that urbanization poses to sustainability, governance, and social structures.


The future is uncertain, as is our influence on it, but change is inevitable. What happens when unexpected trends alter the dynamics for city-making? Scenario planning is an analytical method for investigating just this question.


Scenario planning describes the extreme end-points that certain trends, such as IoT for smart cities, might reach. Based on months of expert interviews, workshops, and writing, we’ve created scenarios that tell the story of our possible futures. These four scenarios challenge current-day assumptions, suggest possible courses of action, and encourage you to think differently about where we’re going and where we may want to go. 

In the report:


  • A summary of scenario planning and how it works
  • Four scenarios that show what future cities may look like
  • The driving forces that shape the city scenarios
  • Uncertainties and how to prepare for potential changes


Digital transformation creates uncertainty. Scenario planning gives cities insights and a sense of direction, to make the future more manageable."


Kees van der Klauw

Head of Research, Philips Lighting