Gord Hume Comments on "Building Cities of the Future"

20 September 2017

There is growing awareness amongst civic leaders that significant changes are coming to the way municipalities have traditionally been planned, designed, built and operated.

The "Building Cities of the Future" article from the July issue of “BuildingSight” from JLT introduces several critical aspects of this emerging new reality for civic leaders. A combination of evolving social trends, environmental demands and new technological opportunities result in exciting new directions and opportunities for urban design, development and construction.

For example, the recent Canadian census data revealed that for the first time in Canadian history, more people live alone than any other form of housing/family situation. Of particular note is the rise of single seniors – a new demographic reality that will ripple through all orders of government ranging from different housing needs to health care to safety to connectivity – in every sense of that word.

For towns and cities, these new factors combine to bring a defined reality to their own priorities and strategic planning. It will not be business as usual in the future. As the JLT article points out correctly, it is the use of technology to enhance the quality of life for residents that is going to be a game-changer for urban design and construction in the future.

Municipalities must get to the front of the line to show leadership and understand the combination of social, community, quality of life and personal needs and how these will intersect with the design and building of communities for the future. That is why smart cities today are looking at the opportunities that technology is now offering them in design and development. Everything from the Internet of Things to how they use Sentient Tools will become important civic instruments for showcasing their communities.

When you add in the growing demands for cleaner energy and carbon neutral buildings, towns and cities will have to assume the critical lead role in the fight against climate change. Everything from autonomous electric vehicles to on-demand public transportation will impact how cities have traditionally operated. These trends will create exciting new opportunities for cities in their own urban design and redevelopment – for example, freeing-up the traditional ugly concrete parking garages downtown to be redeveloped into a higher and better use.

Gord Hume, one of Canada’s leading voices on municipal government financing and governance, and an expert on sustainable urban development, will be discussing the topic of Building Great Cities at the inaugural JLT Canada Public Sector Summit 2017 this October 18th to 20th in The Blue Mountains, Ontario. For more information on this article, or about the Summit, please email us at ClientFirst@jltcanada.com.