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About Our Cities

The best way to understand the future of the British city is to look at what it was like 20 years ago.

British cities’ response to effects of climate change and ‘urban warming’

Between now and 2040, UK cities need to focus on adaptation and retrofit to avoid overheating effects of climate change.

Privately financing city infrastructure

Public-private partnerships will be needed to deliver major city infrastructure by 2040, but requires the right framework of strategy, leadership and regulation.


CCTV will still be in use in our cities in 2040, and could assist with ‘smart city’ implementation, but its usefulness will be eroded by other more recent technologies.

CaMKOx: The Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor

The Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor will be the UK’s newest ‘city region’ by 2040.


Football is big business, and cities with recognisable teams will get business and city branding benefits.


Tourism will accelerate as a major economic force in our big cities over the next 20 years.

Will flexible working policies drive cities to be fully 24/7?

Rise of the 24/7 city will hampered by city dwellers’ preference for their beds.

Green homes will be the norm by 2040

Wellbeing agenda, new tech and regulatory drive will all drive a significant increase in the number of ‘green homes’ by 2040.


Dealing with city sewage is likely to get more expensive and sophisticated.

Communications and broadband

UK cities have their work cut out to stay ahead of the pack on broadband speeds.

Water consumption

City water consumption in 2040 – the same as today, unless you take fewer baths.

Real estate investment and liquidity

Real estate investment per capita in our cities implies smaller cities will outperform over the next 20 years – but city policy makers can affect the outcome.

Over station development

Over station development could be providing significant housing in London by 2040 – but not in other cities.

Housing tenure choices in 2040

By 2040, the majority of those living in a major city will be renting their home.

Underground parking repurposing

By 2040, many central subterranean car parks will have been converted into last mile logistics hubs.

Urban logistics

E-commerce will represent over third of all retail sales by 2040 – which means bigger, higher boxes in cities.

All the other things we didn’t write about

Was there a topic missing from CBRE’s cities campaign? Get in touch and let us know.