Launch of the Policy Commission on Future Urban Living

19th June 2013
The Institution of Civil Engineers, London 

Officially launched at the Institution of Civil Engineers on 19th June 2013, the fifth Birmingham Policy Commission, ‘Future Urban Living’, has set itself the task of exploring the case for and against cities being the most appropriate means for accommodating changing populations, demographics and societal needs within a UK context.

In attendance at the launch which was hosted by Professor Barry Clarke, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, were Commission Chair Lord Shipley of Gosforth and the Academic Lead, Professor Christopher Rogers, and the team of Commissioners. They were joined by the University of Birmingham Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Edward Peck and Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Williams.

Vision for the Policy Commissions

During the launch, Professor Edward Peck, outlined the University’s vision for the Policy Commissions which were initiated in order to bring cutting edge research together with public, private and third sector experts, in order to bring clarity of thinking to issues of local, national or international concern.

The Commission on Future Urban Living builds on existing University of Birmingham research, and aims to critically review ideas such as that 70% of the world’s population should live in cities, and that the tendency should be towards megacities.

Determining what future urban living should offer

The Commission will consider the characteristics that future urban centers should have if they are to be successful, given the context of our rapidly changing world. The outcome of the Commission’s investigation will be a strategic vision transformative change in urban living to 2050, which will identify policy changes necessary for this to be achieved.

Key questions underlying the Commission’s work include:

  • Are cities still as relevant in a very rapidly changing world with new paradigms for trade, communication, manufacturing, food production and consumption, work, travel, leisure and of course demographic change?
  • Is the growing concentration of the world’s population a potential enabler, or inhibitor, of dealing with the world’s problems?


The Policy Commission will review relevant research along with global best and worst practice, invite contributions from policy makers, practitioners and academics, take evidence in hearings and workshops. This series of activities will take place through to October 2013 and the Commission will publish its findings in early 2014.