In some ways, this demographic concentration has been fruitful for humans. It’s helped us create increasingly complex systems of industry. It’s fostered diversity, openness and community. It’s helped spur innovation. And it has housed academies, think tanks and incubators to solve pressing problems of the day.

But it has also created problems. The constant choreography of commuters has clogged the roadways and polluted the air. Inefficient logistical systems carrying food and other goods from surrounding areas have caused similar issues. Civic politics is often too slow to keep pace with the shifting demands of its populace. And some city planners can’t see the proverbial forest for the trees, creating inhuman environments bereft of green space.

One of the major trends right now in city planning is the “15-minute city,” a vision of urban spaces that de-emphasizes automobiles and recenters human movement. It aims to ensure that everyone living in a city can meet their basic needs within a 15-minute walking radius.

Incidentally, scaling back urban car dependence will also have positive environmental effects, so future cities and their communities can expect a twofold boost in value.

AI, big data and machine learning might be on the bleeding edge of logistics right now, but cities of the future will need to dig their heels in deeper.

As mentioned, 8.5 out of every 10 people will live in a city. That means requiring a massive influx of food, consumer goods, construction equipment, etc., from rural and suburban areas. Right now, it isn’t uncommon for a fulfillment truck to pick up a consumer good in a city, transport it to a rural fulfillment center, and then double back to drop it off at an urban doorstep. This inefficiency (and inefficiencies like it) cause undue urban congestion and pollution.

Historically, there has been a “bureaucratic lag” between what citizens want and the actionable steps civic planners can take to actuate those desires. This lag is a holdover from a bygone era of juggling incomplete data and manual communication with the need for clear lines of accountability.

Cities of the future can close that gap. Using technologies like big data and streamlined communication systems for citizens (online opinion polls, social media, etc.), civic policymakers can instantly adapt to citizen needs, creating a more dynamic and personalized urban experience.

Cities have always required human imagination – from the first time someone erected a public fountain to the first 5G cities. How bold we are with our imagination of future cities will dictate how liveable, sustainable and accommodating cities can be in the future.

The post The Future of Cities: Imagining the Metropolises of the Next Century appeared first on The Startup Magazine.