Planning Smarter Cities

A manifesto for addressing its fundamental challenges

‘Smart City’ has become the go-to term for a myriad of ideas and strategies in urban planning, from developing an entirely new city driven by technology to building out wi-fi networks across historical urban centres, collecting and analysing big data, and encouraging and promoting start-up economies. The commonality is that technology is involved in one way or another to improve the way cities function and quality of life for citizens.

Buro Happold is working with governments and developers around the world to implement technology-driven strategies to improve our cities and urban environments. The experience gained on these projects has helped us develop our knowledge and expertise. In a short manifesto, we summarise some of our thinking around the challenges of technology in planning, how to overcome them – and why we should even care.

Download our manifesto here


Cities across the world will increasingly grapple with social, economic, and environmental challenges, from providing affordable and adequate housing, to (re)building ageing or non-existing infrastructure, to mitigating the impacts of climate change. While there is no one single solution in dealing with these challenges, we strongly believe that technology will provide enormous benefit in support of sustainable urban solutions, be it to reduce traffic and improve air quality, optimize services such as garbage collation, or reduce energy consumption. The manifesto identifies the challenges that governments and developers face in this rapidly changing area and proposes ways by which we might overcome them.

The manifesto is kicking off a series of further blogs on the topic. So stay tuned for information on the role of new technology in infrastructure planning, business models for smarter urban planning, or the role we – as engineers – play in this arena. We will be reviewing a series of case studies, conducting interviews with key individuals in Buro Happold and other experts, and publishing some of our own research to demonstrate the breadth and wide-range of our smart city thinking and of strategies currently under way across the world.

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