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[TRENDBOOK] What will the cities of tomorrow look like?


Cities are places to live, work and move around in. And the desire by their inhabitants to do just that is only growing. According to the UN, half of the world’s population live in cities, with the number rising to around 2/3 in 2050.

In our conception of the city, it is important to reinvent ourselves. Office space must be open and used to the benefit of the city during the day, as well as in the evening and weekends. The operation and day-to-day use of the building must now be optimal. For residential, the buildings is now able to be used just as much by hotels and co-living as it is for remote working, living or school work. Cities mutate in order to better protect themselves from climate-related incidences, while reducing their environmental impact, thanks to the ingenuity of the circular economy which includes the reuse of materials.

Filled with expert analysis, renowned architects, territory members and data visualisation, this new TrendBook takes a deep dive into what our urban landscape looks like and what it might evolve into.

How can cities be more resilient?

The Covid-19 crisis is an accelerator of the initiatives already being developed by cities. Previous business districts have been transformed into functioning neighbourhoods with mixed-use buildings, mobility has been developed with greener solutions and citizens have become more and more a part of urban projects. The wheels are already in motion! 

However, some experts like Victoria Lee, Urban Development Strategist, think that we need to be more innovative in the way we build our cities, believing that cities should respond to how they are used and spaces should be adapted to be more effective at different times of the day. This could reduce the need for social distancing simply by shopping or working at different times. It’s the 24 hour city concept.

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Urban Logistics and the last mile delivery

Due to the Covid-19 crisis and the development of e-commerce and click and collect, logistics is more and more important for the effective running of our cities. However, territories have not anticipated the need, and the development of specific infrastructures. The creation of hubs in the city centre or in the periphery is crucial to respond to the demands of customers and retailers. 

“ More goods mean also more traffic and a need for increased parking so products can be unloaded.” explains Oliver Wissel, Director European Logistics & Industrial Advisory at BNP Paribas Real Estate

Urban logistics therefore becomes a key point, as well as the need for mobility in the city.  


The idea is to design real estate projects, right from the conception stage of a building, that take local biodiversity into account in order to limit the impact on the natural and human environment

Catherine Papillon
Head of CSR at BNP Paribas Real Estate

When nature inspires the city

The cities of tomorrow will integrate the concept of reversibility and the circular economy. The aim is to preserve our resources and ecosystems. The idea of the circular economy also promotes the re-use of materials and waste recycling. Highlighted by the European Commission, a dedicated action plan was voted in in March 2020 which integrates this concept and certain requirements into the conception of our future buildings. 
Biodiversity is also the key to bringing about a better environment. “The idea is to design real estate projects, right from the conception stage of a building, that take local biodiversity into account in order to limit the impact on the natural and human environment”, explains Catherine Papillon, Head of CSR at BNP Paribas Real Estate. 

Shaping a more resilient and inclusive city is a big challenge! It demands that we work with locally elected officials, mixed economy companies, and public development establishments, but also that we involve people. It is through such a collaborative effort that each city will be better prepared, not only for what its inhabitants’ needs will be but what the world of tomorrow will throw at it.