Future visions

It is now widely understood that climate change is adversely affecting our planet and our lives, and in order to ensure our future we must take action immediately to prevent further climate deterioration. The consumption of resources beyond those that the planet can replenish provides a second, tensioning, imperative. These are the greatest challenges we, as a human race, currently face

And yet inaction prevails, in our policies, in our businesses and in our personal lives. Part of the problem is that we cannot clearly see where we are heading – that there is no clear vision of our low-carbon resource secure future and thus developing a roadmap to achieve it is impossible. Liveable Cities seeks to change this, by envisioning such a future, back casting from it to our lives today and developing the much-needed roadmap. 

Engineering of cities has traditionally adopted best practice derived from personally and vicariously garnered experience, using top-down approaches for engineering provision while taking only broad cognisance of the needs of society via collective governance. This approach to city engineering starts from the basis of the legacy from previous generations and either seeks to integrate new solutions or destroys the fabric locally and imposes them (canals, railways, roads, gas pipes, electricity cables, optical fibre cables provide examples). The economic model driving new development has in the past favoured the growth and development of cities with little regard to future potential scarcity of resources or environmental damage beyond the local or regional impacts. There is now a growing awareness that this should change, but the mechanisms to deliver change much beyond the incremental are not immediately apparent and there is a fear in the current global markets that any country instituting radical change will lose out financially, i.e. their global competitiveness will suffer, while the effects will be limited unless all countries change in the same manner and to the same degree. This is a recipe for inaction and deferment of the problems to the next generation, with some clinging to a hope that "technology will provide a solution". The research challenge is to detail the implementation of radical change that is socially and economically acceptable to all.


Research Videos

Future City Visions - Adriana Ortegon

Principles into Practice - Adriana Ortegon

Visual Conversation on Urban Futures - Serena Pollastri


Research Theme Team

Nick Tyler Nick Tyler
Co-investigator UCL
Rachel Cooper Rachel Cooper
Co-investigator Lancaster University
Brian Collins Brian Collins
Co-investigator UCL
Nick Dunn Nick Dunn
Co-investigator Lancaster University
No picture available Claire Coulton
Project Officer (Wellbeing and Future Visions) Lancaster University
No picture available Adriana Ortegon
Researcher UCL
Serena Pollastri Serena Pollastri
PhD Student Lancaster University

Expert Panellists

No picture available Thomas Bender
Design Council & CABE
No picture available Clive Crawford
Chadwick, Crawford Consultancy
No picture available Aksel Ersoy
University of Bristol
No picture available Andrew Kluth
No picture available Rachel Lee
Living Streets
No picture available Richard Rees
Birmingham City Council
No picture available Rick Robinson
Amey PLC
No picture available John Wybor
GWP Architecture Ltd

The Liveable Cities Method: establishing the case for transformative change for a UK metro

There is currently great interest in the creation of sustainable and liveable cities, both in the UK and globally. While it can be argued that good progress is being made in thinking about the needs of future cities, meeting these needs and aspirations in practice poses major challenges of understanding...

Proving Trials – A Set of Practical Implementation 'Case Studies'

Case Study No.1 - Natural Capital in Birmingham by Nick Grayson, Jonathan Sadler, James Hale, Martin Locret-Collet and Chris Bouch   Case Study No.2 - Energy, Transport and Waste in Birmingham: Building the Foundations for Tomorrow’s Engineering Strategies by Chris Bouch, Susan Lee, Joanne Leach, John Urry and Chris Rogers   Case Study No.3 - Rezoning Harnessing...

A Suite of Tools for City Process Engineering

Tool #1 - Liveable Cities Method Tool A method for making sustainable and resilient decisions in the face of future uncertainty by Joanne M Leach, Chris DF Rogers, Martin Locret-Collet, Nick Grayson, James D. Hale, Jonathan P Sadler, Susan E Lee, Christopher J Bouch, Marianna Cavada, Timea Nochta, Jonathan P Ward, Peter A...

The Little Book Series

Insight on Innovation for Cities - Design   The following books comprise the Liveable Cities Little Book Series. More titles will be added as they are published.   The Little Book of Car Free Cities by John Urry, Joanne Leach, Nick Dunn, Claire Coulton and the Liveable Cities Team   The Little Book of Circular Economy in cities by Giovani...

The Little Book of Sharing in the City

The Little Book of Sharing in the City

This little book tells you about research that we did as part of the Liveable Cities project, looking at sharing in cities. Through a series of conversations with researchers and workshops with citizens of Lancaster and Birmingham in 2015, we conclude that: ...

Future Visioning Workshops - All the reports

Future Visioning Workshops - All the reports

The Future Visioning Workshops bring together and leading expert in various professional sectors to explore visions of sustainable, liveable future cities. Through a combination of hands-on activities and open discussion, this 2-hour workshop enables deep, creating thinking in a short time.   The zip file contains the full collection of reports from...

Liveable Cities Final Outcomes

Transforming the Engineering of Cities Takes Shape Through a Diverse Range of Outputs

Insight on Innovation for Cities - Design   The Liveable Cities Little Book Series (a box set of "The Little Book of ...") was published ahead of the final Liveable Cities Celebrations in December 2017. The individual books can be downloaded...

Net Zero: Car-Free Cities

Professor Chris Rogers makes the case for a car-free city on the TRT WORLD Roundtable debate

Hosted by David Foster, Roundtable is a discussion programme with an edge.

Future of Cities

Future of Cities

Liveable Cities makes "Future of Cities" video as part of the ICE200 celebrations

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is celebrating 200 years and has commissioned 200 videos as part of its ICE200 celebration. Most of the videos are themed with major civil engineering projects, but Liveable Cities was asked to...

Liveable Cities Videos

As a result of a 3-day Communication Symposium held in March 2017 in Lancaster, Liveable Cities has produced a series of researcher videos.

City Analysis Research Videos Creating a virtual test bed for transformational engineering - Chris Bouch Smart Cities - Marianna Cavada Environmental impact of a meal - Valeria De Laurentiis How Economic Theory Shapes Infrastructure Investment -...

More Liveable Cities Presents... The Skype Sessions

An opportunity to discuss research with Liveable Cities team members via Skype

Each month, a member of the Liveable Cities team will host a 1-hour Skype session on a topic of their choice. The sessions are a more informal way of chatting with team members about their work as well as the larger...

Liveable Cities facilitates important Birmingham workshops

Liveable Cities facilitates important Birmingham workshops

Birmingham City Council creating 'bottom-up' natural captial plan using design methods

The Lancaster team went to Birmingham on 2 November to facilitate two workshops on behalf of Birmingham City Council. The Council is beginning the long process of developing a 25-year natural capital plan for the city, and wanted to involve...