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The City of 2030 – how will it look?

Ahead of this year’s LGA Conference we asked how the place of the future might look – the citizens, communities, infrastructure and services.

I’m passionate about delivering better places and, at this year’s LGA Conference, Capita is hosting two events about just that. The discussion I’ll be chairing will focus on how we can help further accelerate innovation and bring fresh investment to deliver economic growth, jobs and prosperity and, ultimately, better places to live, work and play.

Members of the panel of our event ‘Cities’ industrial strategies: ensuring today’s built environment meets the needs of tomorrow’s local community’ (including myself) were asked to imagine what the cities of 2030 will look like:


“In 2030, well-integrated public services will be built around how people live their lives, provided at the time, place, and in the form that people want them. Investment in prevention and early intervention will reduce demand for acute and specialist services and more integrated services will proactively react to the city’s needs while minimising demand. Population growth will happen alongside investment in housing, an integrated transport system and a fully devolved skills system with greater involvement from businesses to better connect all residents to job opportunities.

An ageing population will stay active for longer, through neighbourhood-based commissioning models, agreed by a range of agencies. Our children and young people will get the best start in life through expanded and improved schools. Delivery of services will be increasingly digital, but also personal, with a greatly reduced carbon footprint of service delivery.”

Joanne Roney, chief executive, Manchester City Council


“Looking at what’s already happening in Salford at MediaCityUK, and the research work undertaken at the University of Salford to the built environment, the skyscrapers that dominate the city’s skylines will be more than just space for residents, offices, retail and leisure. Buildings will be multi-purpose, accommodating everything from urban agriculture to climate aware facades and intelligent building systems. Smart buildings will be ‘living buildings’, aware of their surroundings and responding to the needs of their occupiers and visitors.

And, beyond 2030, it is already predicted that drones will not only be delivering parcels but also helping to maintain the city’s urban infrastructure.

The technology is already here, it is now a question of whether regulation and public perception can adapt to the change that is coming.”

Jim Taylor, chief executive, Salford City Council


"In 2030 I expect cities will look very different from how they do today – much more multi-generational, and community-focused, helping sustain and support a good life for local people.

How will this happen? By 2030, local people will have far more say in the kind of places and communities they want to live in. Policy solutions will have been created to make sure cities work in a more community-focused way; with trickle-down economic theories left where they belong – in the past.

In 2030, instead of profits flowing from our cities to developers and investors, there will be procurement solutions that put sustainable and thriving communities front and centre. Everyone will recognise that cities do not exist in isolation, but need to have a mutually beneficial relationship with the towns and communities that surround them. There will be more co-ops for local goods and services; and more green spaces – with a recognition that people prosperity, which is more than economic prosperity, is the ultimate goal."

Edna Robinson, chairman, People’s Powerhouse


 "Current trends show that, by 2030, two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, as rural to urban migration continues alongside population growth. The number of mega cities (ie, with over 10m people) will increase from 31 to 43 by 2030.

2030 seems a long way off ,but 80% of the buildings are here already, as is much of the infrastructure, so our real challenge is to have healthy cities with clean air and water with good public transport. Already many of our cities have housing shortages, overstretched infrastructure and high pollution levels.

By 2030 we will use digital technology to monitor and inform more efficient use of our infrastructure, we will understand better how the infrastructure operates throughout the day and night – and data will be used to better manage energy, water and air quality in our cities. This, in turn, will inform our decision making around responsive local public transportation.”

Deborah McLaughlin, managing director, real estate projects, Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure

Photo of Deborah McLaughlin

Deborah McLaughlin

Managing Director, GL Hearn, part of Capita

As managing director of GL Hearn, Deborah leads an enlarged real estate consultancy which better meets clients’ needs. Formerly Director of Housing at Manchester City Council, Deborah joined Capita in September 2016 from the Homes and Communities Agency (now Homes England) where she was an executive director. Initially head of housing delivery, she was subsequently appointed managing director of Capita’s real estate projects business. With over two decades’ experience in the sector, she is an influential and highly-regarded figure within the real estate industry and brings a new energy and perspective to the business.

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