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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.


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

Chewing gum

Our cities will be less sticky by 2040, as regulators are urged to tackle chewing gum.

City arts festivals

A blizzard of city arts festivals by 2040 as organisers and communities recognise their contribution to placemaking, city branding, tourism and regeneration.

Higher education, graduate retention and talent

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

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.

Hotel development

International tourism demand and tech innovation could turn hotels into the saviour of the high street by 2040.

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.


Drones won’t overfly our cities with parcels until formidable regulatory concerns are overcome. Even in 2040, surface-based logistics will be more important.

Congestion charging

Congestion charging schemes still thin on the ground by 2040, but London’s will still be in place – with delivery vehicles bearing the brunt.

Urban logistics

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

Revitalised suburbs

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

What makes a successful city?

Culture, innovation and governance have always been, and still will be, the drivers of the successful city in 2040.

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.