future view

How cities can plan their futures flexibly

3 August 2017 • 1 min reading time

Cities are dynamic entities that face great challenges in making and keeping the urban environments of more and more inhabitants sustainable and liveable. What will the city of the future look like? In this series of articles, TNO focuses on the agile city, the accessible city, and the sustainable city. In this article we highlight the agile city.

TNO’s vision on the city of the future primarily involves regarding it as a system that serves its stakeholders, including, not least of all, the people who live in it. The city is an interchange of physical, social and ICT networks – a complex system in which actors and those linked to them form the foundations and where connections are changing all the time. It is important that we gain a better understanding of the complexity of the urban system, with all its dependencies and connections, in order to make it sustainable and future-proof. In other words, learning by doing and safeguarding the lessons we learn.

“It is important that we gain a better understanding of the complexity of the urban system, with all its dependencies and connections, in order to make it sustainable and future-proof”

The agile city

The agile city looks at the economically vibrant city in its regional context, which continues to generate new employment opportunities. A city can be described as agile if it is able to assess itself by looking at the speed at which it can learn. It is about cities being able to take action on the basis of challenges they will face, about being able to deal with change, and about being able to generate the organizational and process-related decisiveness and flexibility that this needs. A city’s smartness and capacity to learn are embedded in its people. It is therefore important that cities are inclusive. Cities have to be open and transparent in their decision-making processes. As well as anticipating, they also have to be able to act, by making strategic use of the data and information available to them.

more about the city of the future

How do we keep cities accessible in the future?


Keen to find out how your city can plan its future flexibly? For further details, read the paper entitled ‘The agile city’ or get in touch with us.

Position paper - the agile city

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