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Urbanized Futures

Athena @ ST 20 September 2018

By 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in urban areas. Read on to discover how Athena, our robot, forecasts this mega-trend and other changes to urban living that will change the world.
What is changing?














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Systems map
Emerging changes in urbanization will affect just about everything, everywhere presenting major opportunities for growth and risks, particularly in supply and demand for housing, utilities, services and clean, good living.


Sentiment analysis
Attitudes to urbanization have been nett neutral for several years. This may well change in future decades as climate change and geopolitics forces more migrants to shelter in cities. Tensions may well boil over between the haves and the have nots if city authorities fail to cope with rising influxes of people seeking safety and security.

Pie charts
Athena calculates that the tipping point for rising urbanization will be around 2042 from aggregating the views of all her sources. Similarly, those same sources collectively rank the issue as High and assess future Impact in the Billions and Trillions range with 62.3% placing it in the early stage development.

The cloud shows the enormous range of associated topics that will drive or be affected by urbanization. We recommend you explore associated topics of interest to you at and then anticipate and prepare for emerging opportunities and risks accordingly.


Athena calculates that transport will be the biggest sector affected by rising urbanization followed by government, financial services, manufacturing, real estate, construction. These five sectors all have major opportunities for growth and significantly improved service provision if actioned well.


By 2023, Athena suggests that demand for investment in steel and food supply plus retail and technological delivery will be the key areas for growth.

Heat Map
The heat map highlights which sectors and topics show the most opportunity. Three areas stand out: construction in Northern Europe, Financial services in Asia and transportation as a service throughout the world. Construction also shows as the largest opportunity across most of the world.

Canada, China and particularly India stand out as the three countries with the likely highest urbanization rates in the coming decades.

Sectoral issues with urbanization continue to run very high with financial services and education at the top of the list in 2018. Authorities will need to forecast future service demand for cities under several scenarios ranging from business as usual to rapid population growth, sudden transformation and collapse to ensure agility and resilience to change going forward. Contact us to see how our automated scenario generator can instantly develop these scenarios for emerging urbaization change and allow your rapid response to be built collaboratively and in near-real time..

Not surprisingly, China and India are the two foremost countries to likely experience rapid urbanization especially with the rise of many new cities in these two countries.

Athena used the sources below as the top ones to create this report and determined which embedded forecasts are included in this Trend Alert. She found 5,466 forecasts in seconds on the 20th September 2018 to allow us to publish this summary in less than an hour. She can turn these into PowerPoint slides and Audio files in minutes too as you wish, or we can prepare a full customized and professionally written brief for you to order covering all 5,466 forecasts. You can also use these forecasts in collaborative workshops to develop your strategic responses in hours rather than the weeks and months of traditional foresight projects.


Athena does show duplicates to aid your understanding of themes as well as contradictory forecasts. She may also show near-duplicates. You can speed read past the duplicates and near-duplicates if you wish, though the latter may show additional information. You can use the contradictory, and likely uncertain forecasts she finds to imagine different scenarios. The future is unpredictable, but we can examine the possibilities and choose our preferable future from the choices she presents. 
Athena is apolitical. She will report forecasts from different viewpoints however distasteful that might be to our own values. Wearing rose-colored glasses is not her purpose; reporting potential futures is. So, we recommend you check her veracity before responding to her extracted forecasts.

Just like humans, Athena can be fallible. Do recognize that you and your associates are biased too. But whereas you tire, make mistakes and only recognize what interests you, she does not. She might miss or misinterpret as you do, but with far less frequency and she'll take uncomfortable truths and alternative ideas in her stride. But, please let us know if you feel her bias can be reduced. We want to do our best for you. And, as with any research, you should check and triangulate her findings for yourself.

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