Global Study Will Provide Urban Leaders With an Evidence-Based Roadmap for Making Their Cities More Sustainable, Resilient, Inclusive, and Future-Ready

NEW YORK--()--ThoughtLab, a leading global research firm, has joined forces with a broad coalition of business, government, and academic leaders to launch its fourth urban research program, Building a Future-Ready City. This ground-breaking study, conducted together with Hatch, a global engineering company, will examine how cities around the world plan to reinvent their urban environments to meet the post-pandemic expectations of citizens and other stakeholders, and to address their increasing needs for resiliency, sustainability, inclusiveness, and economic development.

The pandemic and other market disruptions have heightened the imperative for urban transformation. Now more than ever, urban leaders must adopt a future-ready strategy to address a cross-current of dramatic shifts upending their cities—including technological innovation, climate change, rising safety and security concerns, failing infrastructure, and economic volatility, as well as changing citizen behaviors, expectations, and demographics.

“In my years of conducting urban research, I cannot remember a more disruptive and perplexing time for city leaders,” said Louis Celi, CEO of ThoughtLab and director of the research program. “Since our last study, cities have experienced unprecedented social, environmental, technological, and economic shifts that require fresh urban thinking. Our current research program will provide city leaders with just that—evidence-based analysis and actionable insights that will help them find their own path to becoming more sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and future-ready cities.”

In the months ahead, ThoughtLab and Hatch Urban Solutions, the urban practice arm of Hatch, will conduct a rigorous benchmarking study of 200 cities across regions, population sizes, and income levels to probe their strategies, investments, and plans for becoming future ready. To assess how these plans align with changing citizen behaviors and expectations, ThoughtLab also will conduct a survey of 2,000 residents in cities in six world regions. To provide city leaders with an actionable roadmap, the research will include in-depth case studies on the urban transformation plans of 15 cities, as well as robust economic and social impact analysis to identify the future-ready strategies that work best.

An eBook, benchmarking platform, and other decision support tools developed from the study will be released in November 2022, with an announcement of key findings and calls to action at a global virtual summit organized with Smart Cities World, and in person at the 2022 Barcelona Smart City Expo World Conference. ThoughtLab will also launch a dedicated microsite that will provide regular updates on the program, along with the latest analysis, useful data resources, and shared content.

"A future-ready city in a post-pandemic world is one that embraces stakeholder and community engagement, innovation, and technology to cultivate a thriving and enduring community,” said Chris Castro, Director of the Office of Sustainability and Resilience for the City of Orlando. “These cities will be advanced in using smart technology and data to accelerate progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, improve our collective resilience, and transition to a zero-carbon economy. ThoughtLab’s research will help shed light on the path ahead for cities."

Actionable roadmap for the future

This landmark study, Building a Future-Ready City, will provide city leaders with a comprehensive, evidence-based roadmap for preparing for a transformed, post-pandemic world, with insights into:

  • How citizens across a spectrum of cities expect to change the way they live, work, socialize, and travel in metro areas, and how city leaders are building these assumptions into their longer-term plans.
  • What future-ready goals and investments these cities are targeting and integrating across seven urban domains: living and health; mobility and transportation; environment and sustainability; energy and utilities; public safety; digital infrastructure; and economic development.
  • How cities will draw on technology, innovation, and data, along with citizen engagement, partnerships, and new funding models, to achieve their social, environmental, and economic goals and to overcome the urban challenges ahead.

The research coalition for Building a Future-Ready City consists of:

  • Corporate sponsors, including Axis Communications, Cognizant, Dassault Systèmes, Dell Technologies, Deloitte, GM, Intel, JLL Technologies, Kearney, NTT, and Visa.
  • Multilateral organizations, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and United Cities.
  • Associations and think tanks, including the World Economic Forum, Smart Cities Council, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), FIWARE, Open Sustainability Collaborative, GO SMART, Anbound, Reimagining Cities, Renaissance Urbaine, Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), and Taipei Computer Association.
  • Academic institutions, including Arizona State University, Carnegie Mellon University, IESE Business School, Nankai University, Peking University, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR), Rochester Institute of Technology - Dubai, Sogang University, Tsinghua University, University of Michigan, and University of Southern California.
  • Government and transportation leaders from Almaty City, Auckland, Austin, Barcelona, Bucaramanga, Cary, Clark County, Dallas, Dublin, Chicago, London, Los Altos Hills, Mumbai, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Orlando, Ottawa, Pearland, Philadelphia, Seoul, Singapore, Sioux Falls, Torrance, Trondheim, and Uppsala.
  • Media partners, including Edelman and Smart Cities World.

About ThoughtLab

ThoughtLab is an innovative thought leadership firm that creates fresh ideas through rigorous research and economic analysis. We specialize in assessing the economic, financial, and social impact of technology on cities, companies, industries, and world markets. Our services include fielding business, consumer, investor, and government surveys; organizing executive interviews, meetings, and advisory groups; conducting economic modeling, AI sentiment monitoring, benchmarking, and performance analysis; and developing white papers, eBooks, infographics, and customer-facing analytical tools.

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About Hatch

Whatever our clients envision, our engineers can design and build. With over six decades of business and technical experience in the mining, energy, and infrastructure sectors, we know your business and understand that your challenges are changing rapidly. We respond quickly with solutions that are smarter, more efficient, and innovative. We draw upon our 9,000 staff with experience in over 150 countries to challenge the status quo and create positive change for our clients, our employees, and the communities we serve.

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Research Sponsors and Advisors:

Sponsors: Kevin Taylor, Segment Development Manager, Cities, Axis Communications; Andrea Sorri, Segment Development Manager, Smart Cities EMEA, Axis Communications; Angie Merrill, Senior Industry Marketing Manager, Axis Communications; Andreas Göransson, Global Enterprise Segment Marketing Manager, Axis Communications; Euan Davis, AVP, Marketing, Cognizant; Karen McCall, Marketing Director, Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant; Rouzbeh Amini, Senior Director, Sustainability Services, Cognizant; Eduardo Plastino, Director, Marketing, Cognizant; Jodi Sorenson, VP, Corporate Communications, Cognizant; Praveen Vyakaranam, Director, Strategy Lead, Digital Cities, Dell Technologies; Anuja Bajpai, Consultant, Marketing Lead, Digital Cities, Dell Technologies; Bill Pfeifer, Director, Product Marketing, Edge, Dell Technologies; William Eggers, Executive Managing Director, Deloitte; Mahesh Kelkar, Executive Manager, Deloitte; David Noone, Senior Manager, Deloitte; Rajit Dey, Content Marketer, Deloitte; Suzette Malek, Global Research Manager, Global Societal Trends & Innovation Insights, General Motors; Chandra Sekhar Talluri, Product Manager, Smart City Incubation, General Motors; Heather Hardman, Product Marketing Lead, Global Future of Roads & Smart City Incubation, General Motors; Max Vega, Smart Cities & Transportation, Strategy & Marketing – IoTG, Intel; Sajid Khan, Global Director, Smart Cities & Transportation Strategy & Marketing, Intel; Emily Hutson, Marketing Manager, IOTG, Intel; Susan O’Connor, Director, Services and Solutions Product Marketing, JLL Technologies; Abdo Al Habr, Partner, Kearney; Antoine Nasr, Global Head of Government and Economic Development Practice, Kearney; Rudolph Lohmeyer, Partner, Head of National Transformations Institute in the Middle East, Kearney; Swetha Menon, Senior Marketing Specialist, Kearney; Daria Shevchenko, Marketing Manager, Kearney; Eduardo Tarasca, Director of Product Marketing, NTT; William Baver, Vice President, NTT SMART World; Bennett Indart, VP Smart Solutions, NTT; Vito Mabrucco, Global Chief Marketing Officer, NTT; Ted Waddelow, Head of Sustainability & Mobility Policy, Global Policy, Visa; Stephen Cooles, Global Head of Partner Development, Urban Mobility, Visa; Anoosha Livani, Sr. Product Marketing Director, Visa Government Solutions, Visa; Maveric Galmiche, Market Analyst Cities & Public Services, Dassault Systèmes; Jacques Beltran, Vice President, Cities & Public Services, Dassault Systèmes; Marion Milosevic, Solutions Strategy Director Cities & Public Services, Dassault Systèmes; Mahel Abaab-Fournial, Sales Strategy Director Cities & Public Services, Dassault Systèmes; Bob Pell, Managing Director, Urban Solutions, Hatch; Daniel Miles, Director, Urban Solutions, Hatch.

City Leaders: Bayan Konirbayev, Chief Digital Officer, Almaty City, Kazakhstan; Miquel Rodriguez Planas, Commissioner, Barcelona City Council; Dr. Peter Pirnejad, City Manager, Los Altos Hills, CA; Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability and Resilience, Orlando, FL; Clay Pearson, City Manager, Pearland, TX; Emily Yates, Chief Innovation Officer, SEPTA, Philadelphia; Darron Taylor, Operational Lead, City of Ottawa; Gianluca Galletto, Managing Director, Technology & Innovation Partnerships, New York Housing Authority (personal capacity); Oyvind Tanum, Head of Smart City, Trondheim, Norway; Aram Chaparyan, City Manager, Torrance, CA; Peter Nöu, Smart City Pilots & Partnerships, Uppsala, Sweden; Borg Tham, Deputy Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore; Jamie Cudden, Smart City Program Manager, Dublin; Jayant Kohale, Business Advisor, Mumbai; Julia Thompson, Smart Cities Data & Planning Consultant, London; In Dong Cho, Metropolitan Government First Vice Mayor, Seoul, South Korea; Edson Gomez, CIO, Bucaramanga, Colombia; Gia Biagi, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Transportation; Nicole Raimundo, CIO, Cary, NC; Mike Grigsby, Director Innovation and Technology, Sioux Falls, SD; Bill Cashmore, Deputy Mayor, Auckland; Sharmila Muhkerjee, Executive VP, Planning and Development, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin; Benjamin Branham, Chief Communications Officer, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Bob Leek, Smart Mobility, Parking Enterprise & Mobility Services, Clark County, NV; Jason JonMichael, Assistant Director of Smart Mobility, Austin, TX.

Academic Experts: Karen Lightman, Executive Director, Metro21: Smart Cities Institute, Carnegie Mellon University; Joan E. Ricart, Professor, IESE Business School; Eugenie Birch, Professor, Nussdorf Professor and co-director, Penn Institute for Urban Research; Kyung-Hwan Kim, Professor of Economics, Sogang University; Frank Zerunyan, Professor, University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy; Professor Greg Clark, CBE FAcSS, Group Advisor, Future Cities & New Industries, HSBC; Henry Liu, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, M-City; Jian Liu, Professor of Urban Planning & Design, Tsinghua University Tianjin, China; Dr. Yu Qi, Associate Professor Nankai University, Tianjin, China; John Rome, Deputy CIO for Partnerships, Cloud Innovation Center, Arizona State University; Ryan Hendrix, General Manager, Cloud Innovation Center, Arizona State University; Diana Bowman, Co-Director, Center for Smart Cities and Regions, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University; Fengyu Li, VP of the Institute of Urban Design and Innovation at CAFA, China; Prof. Maosheng Lai, Peking University of China; Dr. Sanjay Modak, Chair Graduate Programs and Research Department, RIT of Dubai.

Media and Association Partners: Philip Bane, Managing Director, Smart Cities Council; Chris Cooke, Chief Executive Officer, Smart Cities World; Kari Eik, Secretary General, United Cities; Tony Silva, General Manager, Public Sector, Edelman; Yi Wang, Head of Global Development Program, Anbound; Ulrich Ahle, Chief Executive Officer, FIWARE; Cristina Brandtstetter, Chief Marketing Officer, FIWARE; Chungha Cha, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, Reimagining Cities LLC; Nicolas Buchoud, Founding Principal, Renaissance Urbaine; Sameh Naguib Whaba, Global Director, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, World Bank Group; Jim Haskins, Director of Community Engagement, Open Sustainability Collaborative; Jeff Merritt, Head of Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum; Michelle James, Vice President, Strategic Industry Programs, CTIA; Anita Chen, Deputy Secretary General, GO SMART; Pablo Marmissolle Daguerre, Chief of Staff, United Cities and Local Governments; Jennifer Sanders, Executive Director, Dallas Innovation Alliance.


Lou Celi, Chief Executive Officer 
ThoughtLab Group  

Gina Egan, Marketing Director 
ThoughtLab Group

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Lou Celi, Chief Executive Officer 
ThoughtLab Group  

Gina Egan, Marketing Director 
ThoughtLab Group