Below is the main output of the Copenhagen Urban Futures Forum, a shared Perspectives Paper.

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what are the essential concepts, morphologies, practices which will make cities demonstrably better and more beautiful places to live?

what role does urban form and architecture play in enabling the emerging sustainable lifestyles through liveability and other approaches?

what, in concrete practice, is the ‘hedonistic sustainability’ that modern city-livers seek? what role does planning play in establishing urban form and liveability?

who are the agents and what are the resources required to initiate a liveable city, and to adapt an existing urban fabric towards greater liveability and optimised form?

do professions and studios need to evolve to meet the complex requirements of creating optimally liveable cities?

how can systemic resource efficiency become a driver of quality of life, economic stability, and social progress?

what is the role of infrastructure whether in housing, transport, energy, waste, food, water and more – in sustainable living?

how can infrastructure change be accelerated? how can the aggregate flow of resources per capita be radically reduced?

how do we upcycle (rather than simply destroy and downcycle) the physical content of entire cities, including their buildings and infrastructure, and material lifestyles?

what policy and finance needed?

how do cities not just mitigate climate impacts but adapt for existing and oncoming climate change and instability in the coming century?

what are the new urban strategies for living, infrastructure, investment, governance, that must be enacted under the emerging scenario of sea-level rise and climate instability?

how do cities adapt, survive, and thrive?

what are the implications for urban fabric and development of asset-light living (i.e. service-based consumption), and the age of internet connectivity?

specifically, how credible and how advanced are the proposals that urban lifestyles shift from asset-heavy lifestyles (based on persona product purchase and ownership), to an ‘asset-light’ ‘cloud’ of services across all lifestyle areas, including mobility, washing, leisure experiences, food services, and more?

what is the role for architects and urbanists? what supports through policy, finance, infrastructure are needed?

what risks and trade-offs?

what is the role of the internet and mobile communications?

how to make ‘lifestyle management’ apps real, and not useless?

what constellation of agents will make these transitions and business real, at scale?

how can new businesses, including the technologies they leverage, prosper in cities now being developed, and how does this support sustainable trade?

what kind of businesses, and therefore jobs, can be stimulated to help create really sustainable urban living?

what kind of infrastructural supports are needed (parking, storage/logistics, management facilities) to ace and who delivers?

can the new business for sustainable urban futures reach the scale that impact on trade and export, or are they only local concerns?

what is the suitable policy and investment framing for stimulating these new businesses?

who should take the risks and who should benefit? is there a need for new hybrid business models, and/or other financial innovation?

what are the emerging ways to collaborate around urban development, across government and the private sector, experts and the public, and rich and poor?

how can risk-taking and cross-sectoral partnership be stimulated and stabilised to deliver sustainable living?

how should investment for generations-long infrastructure systems, and for low-return essential utilities and infrastructure, be structured, and what is the role specifically of national, sub-national and municipal government?


The Ministry of Environment will use these outcomes in ongoing work to update the planning system for sustainability
A summary of action recommendations, organised by the themes of the event
Interviews with some of the participants, exploring their views on the discussion and themes
New connections and alliances across the professions creating urban futures; proposal, if successful, to expand and continue Urban Futures Forum