Five billion
city dwellers before 2035

Over nine billion
expected growth in global population by 2050

US$9 trillion
per annum forecasted global infrastructure spending by 2025

US$400 billion
in cost-saving opportunities in current projects and processes worldwide

The challenge

Everything is related. Siloed thinking has kept us focusing on one problem at a time, not considering how issues interact. Globally, cities have lost confidence in their infrastructure due to deferred maintenance, underinvestment, poor planning, and changing political agendas.

As the world's population growth continues exponentially, millions of people are added to urban environments each year. Communities and cities must start to build and rebuild differently, using space more efficiently. Related infrastructure design must enable this growth and make our cities more sustainable and resilient.

Traditionally, communities, stakeholders, and politicians have considered urban pieces individually, acting on issues independently and not approaching them with a holistic view. This has been a costly oversight. A holistic view lets us recognize activities that might seem to be unrelated, but could be considered and executed simultaneously with significant reductions. But what are the priorities for these activities? How do you properly plan out the infrastructure improvements needed to benefit the communities and cities?

There needs to be a strategy, a plan, and an implementation program. The entire value chain and community must be considered in order to optimize population movement, enable economic growth, and improve the sustainability of the resources required. Improving and building communities takes big-picture thinking and detailed, actionable planning. 

Our response

Small steps, big impacts: Many problems can be addressed with a clear strategy, well-thought-out priorities, proper planning and some relatively simple optimizations. Actionable planning supports the efficient delivery of strong-performing infrastructure, like water, transit, and energy.  This can restore public confidence.

New opportunities for development: Take a long-term view. Figure out what to build first, what comes next, and how to connect everything together. Plan now for what we think we may need then, and take advantage of opportunities that are provided by changing economies.

Prioritize “smartly”: Cities need to make better decisions about where and when to invest. Abandon silo thinking, and look for solutions that serve multiple users with multiple objectives.

Learn from best practice: No two urban areas are identical. But urbanization, 21st century industrialization, climate change, resource constraints, and population movements impact many cities. All can learn from each other.

Use technology: Communications, control systems, and “big data” have huge potential for urbanization and connecting people and information. This is why we have partnered with the World Council for City Data to better help cities and communities to understand and act on their sustainability performance and plan to improve.

Dr. Kelly WatsonAsset managers of many different hues claim they are thinking harder about their social role: the ‘S’ in ESG. But evaluating social value generated from investment decisions is not straightforward, as Dr. Kelly Watson, our expert in the development and application of social impact methodologies for cities, infrastructure, and built environment clients explains.

How to assess social value



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