Seven principles for the city of the future

We have little idea how people will live 50 years from now, what jobs they will have, how they will spend their leisure time or what technology they will have access to. There are however some things we do know. The city of tomorrow needsto be sustainable, inclusive and organically developed with the needs and wishes of its inhabitants at heart. It will also be smart – equipped with its own senses and artificial intelligence.

The city of the future is not simply smart. Digitalisation and technological developments will leave their mark on urban development but progress must be significantly broader than so. Technology should be used to achieve human goals, not the other way around.

Bikes in a city.

This is an excerpt from the book "Predicting the Unpredictable - a Nordic Approach to Shaping Future Cities".


It is not easy to establish farsighted goals. We must be flexible. We must think in terms of various possible development horizons and constantly remain aware of which path we are on and question if this really is the path that will take us where we want to go. Flexibility is key.

Our point of departure is to identify an approach to change and uncertainty: how should we surmise when building cities for an era of which we know nothing? This has led us to a number of principles, thoughts and conclusions.

In this way, by maintaining focus on the city’s inhabitants and not being afraid to use new technology to achieve it, the city of the future is an extraordinarily inspiring vision. Our hope is that as many people as possible will contribute to designing and realising it. We build the city of the future together.

Seven principles for the city of the future

  1. Plan cities according to goals rather than prognoses.
  2. Include citizens in the development – use their needs as a starting point.
  3. Make sure that the city of the future is inclusive, safe and enables a sustainable way of life.
  4. Let nature and buildings interact in the urban environment.
  5. Ensure the flexibility of the urban realm.
  6. Use the technological development to make your vision a reality.
  7. Dare to act today – don’t wait for the next big thing.


These principles can be found in our book Predicting the Unpredictable - a Nordic Approach to Shaping Future Cities, written by Jonas Gustavsson, President and CEO and Helena Paulsson, Head of Urban Development.
The book is available to order as a hardcover here and as an e-book here or here.


Helena Paulsson - VP and Head of BA Architecture and Design

Helena Paulsson

VP and Head of BA Architecture and Design

Contact Helena Paulsson

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