Today, the way buildings are operated and used must be optimal. Residential property blocks could therefore accommodate hotels, co-living schemes and dwellings where we can live, work and school children at home. Thanks to the ingenuity of the circular economy, and especially the reuse of materials, cities are evolving to protect themselves as effectively as possible from bioclimatic influences while reducing their environmental impact.

With a wealth of analysis from experts, renowned architects and regional representatives, as well as precise data, this TrendBook Cities of Tomorrow: Inclusive and Resilient illustrates what our urban landscape looks like and examines in detail what it could become.

We are entering the age of 'Re': resilience, rehabilitation, restructuring, reversibility, reuse, soil renaturation, regeneration, reinvention, etc. All these words need to be converted into a promise to build more than sustainable real estate, but special life experiences as well.

Thierry Laroue-Pont
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, BNP Paribas Real Estate

How can cities be more resilient?

The Covid-19 crisis is an accelerator for initiatives already developed by cities. Former business districts have transformed into functional zones with mixed buildings, mobility has grown with greener transport options, and citizens have increasingly taken part in urban project design. Change is already in motion!

However, some experts such as Victoria Lee, a strategist in urban development, think we need to be more innovative in the way we build our cities. She believes they must respond to the way they are used and that spaces should be adapted to be more useful and usable, both during the day and at night. This suggestion could contribute to social distancing by extending shopping hours or enabling people to work at different times. This is the concept of a 24-hour city. "For me, governance is pivotal to the success of tomorrow's resilient cities. Success cannot be realised without a clear and structured guiding principle. Political will from the elected politicians who design cities is therefore indispensable," explains Olivier Bokobza, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas Real Estate responsible for property development.

Urban logistics and last mile delivery

Owing to the Covid-19 crisis and the growth of e-commerce and click and collect, logistics are becoming increasingly important for the smooth running of our cities. However, neither need nor the development of specific infrastructure has been sufficiently anticipated. Creating hubs in the centre or on the outskirts of cities is crucial to meet customer and retailer demands. "More goods also means more traffic and an increased need for parking so that products can be unloaded," explains Oliver Wissel, Director European Logistics and Industrial Advisory at BNP Paribas Real Estate.

Urban logistics is therefore becoming a key point, as is the need for transport in urban areas.

When nature inspires the city

The cities of tomorrow will incorporate the concept of reversibility and the circular economy. The objective is to preserve our resources and ecosystems. The idea of the circular economy also promotes the reuse of materials and the recycling of waste. With the issue highlighted by the European Commission, a dedicated action plan was adopted in March 2020 which incorporates the concept and specific requirements into the design of our future buildings.

Biodiversity is also the key to a better environment. "The idea is to design real estate projects that take local biodiversity into account in order to minimise the impact on the natural and human environment," explains Catherine Papillon, Head of CSR at BNP Paribas Real Estate. Shaping a more resilient and inclusive city is a major challenge! It requires us to work with local elected politicians, mixed economy companies and public development organisations, but also to involve residents themselves.