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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.


Our cities have known terrorism and will continue to do so over coming decades. But they can help reduce its threat and impact through careful placemaking.

​Consumer financial technology

Financial technology will transform the real estate impact of retail financial services.


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

Higher education, graduate retention and talent

Graduate brain drain to London will increasingly be mitigated by growing house price differentials.

Communications and broadband

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


Placemaking attracts talented citizens, but talented citizens will make placemaking more challenging in 2040.

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.


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.

Smart cities – UK city officials survey

New survey findings show UK city officials focus on people-centric technologies to deliver smart cities, not on tech for tech’s sake.

City commuting by rail

More city rail users, travelling further, but less predictably, by 2040.

Airport expansion

At least two new city airport runways by 2040, with extensive expansion elsewhere to meet strong demand – and the surface connections to match.

Polycentricity and polarisation

By 2040, cities will become more polycentric, with sharper distinctions between bustling district centres and sleepy suburbs.

Business parks

A lack of city centre stock will stimulate a new generation of suburban business parks by 2040.

Revitalised suburbs

The costs of the inner city will drive the revitalisation of suburban districts in big 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.