Skip to content

Winning in the 21st Century: How Exponential Trends in Human Longevity, PropTech, and Climate Change Will Shape Cities Over the Decades Ahead

Led by Teo Nicolais, HEAA Reunion 2023

We’re only in the third decade of the 21st century, but three forces are already playing an outsized role in shaping our cities and our daily lives, and their influence is only likely the grow.

First, individuals are enjoying much longer, healthier lives while birthrates are plummeting. As their overall share of the population balloons, the preferences, consumption patterns, and working habits of older individuals will exert a monumental force on cities and their economies.

Second, technologies, especially in the blossoming field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), are changing how are cities are built, financed, operated, and used. From autonomous vehicles to digital building twins to AI-driven analytics and controls, the bricks, mortar, and pavement that surround us are becoming smarter, more productive, and more conducive to maximizing human potential.

Third, increased urbanization in the coming decades holds both tremendous opportunities and perils in the fight against global climate change. With 40% of the worlds’ population living near vulnerable coastal regions and an ever-increasing percentage exposed to climate-driven natural disasters, resilience and sustainability in our built environment are more important than ever.

Winning the 21st century requires thinking deeply about how we plan our urban growth, design our buildings, and use our spaces. Everyone has a role to play in that effort.