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Greg Clark

The Magic of Cities


What makes a city is people concentration. Proximity between people induces deep interactions that create ‘network effects’. Thus, cities accelerate ideas, foster participation, and drive fusions. The scale of population., activities, and revenues also supports common services and infrastructures, and drives specialisation in medicine, science, art, sport, media, leisure, and business. Thus, cities can enhance social mobility, increase productivity, deepen civic capital, and spur creativity. The magic of cities is that they magnify and multiply those interactions with this ‘concentration super-power’.


The Planet of Cities


Cities play a special role in the future of our planet. By 2080 almost 10 billion people will be living in 10,000 cities.

  •  As the concentrations of people, jobs, infrastructure, systems, and consumption, they intensify and emit carbon.

  •  At the same time, cities are the most obvious victims of rising temperatures and sea levels that make them prone to poor air quality, flooding, extreme heat & weather, and natural disasters that threaten human health, bio-diversity, fixed assets, and ecosystems.

  • Cities are also the places where urban innovations shape choices, nudge behaviour changes, and foster new models of investment, consumption, and circularity, as they pursue the path to net zero. Cities are the pioneers of climate reform.

The Century of Cities


In the 5th decade of our urban century new resources have arrived. The tool-box of city management, public governance, and progressive policy is now joined by three new resources in the quest for good urbanisation.


  • The first is a new suite of exponential and enabling technologies that drive new urban sectors, enhance city systems, and make city management a common task between business, government, and citizens.

  • The second is private investment which has woken up to scale of the urban opportunity and the existential imperative to make cities work.

  • The third is the new art of place-leadership, that integrates otherwise separated and fragmented inputs into ‘virtual governance’ premised on the imperatives of a place rather than sectors, institutions, or political parties. Place leadership builds new forms of social capital and identity through deep participation.


Taken together these three new tools can augment our urban leadership, and drive connected places that increase both the investment rate and the level of trust in our cities.      

Thought starters - How cities are changing with Greg Clark
The Future of Cities - Catapult
"Future Talks”

Goodman - How Cities are Changing

Connected Places Catapult - The Future of UK Cities

Museum of the Future Dubai - Future of Cities

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The We Society Podcast, Greg is grilled by Will Hutton

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The Century of Cities: 100 year trek of humankind to the city

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The Planet of Cities, relaunching Greg’s regular column


An advocate for city leaders and urban investors:



Greg Clark is a Board Member of Transport for London, and a member of its Finance and Elizabeth Line Committees. 


He is also Chair of Transport for London's new Land and Property Committee. Read more about it here.

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The UK Cities Commission for Climate Investment (3Ci) is a partnership between Connected Places Catapult, Core Cities, London Councils and a wide range of other private and public organisations.


3Ci adopts a novel approach to addressing the challenge of financing Net Zero in major cities across the UK. Through new research delivered by the 3Ci, we estimate that approximately £200 - £300 billion must be invested to achieve Net Zero across London and UK Core Cities. This is beyond the financing capacity of the public sector alone. 3Ci brings together the investment sector with cities to accelerate the opportunities for private finance to play a leading role in accelerating Net Zero infrastructure investment across commercial real-estate, housing, transport, renewable electricity generation, waste management and other green infrastructure



Connected Places Catapult is the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and place leadership.


CPC provides impartial ‘innovation as a service’ for public bodies, businesses, and infrastructure providers to catalyse step-change improvements in the way people live, work and travel. CPC connects businesses and public sector leaders to cutting-edge research to spark innovation and grow new markets. CPC runs technology demonstrators and SME accelerators to scale new solutions that drive growth, spread prosperity, and eliminate carbon.

Click here to listen to the Connected Places podcast in which Greg interviews thought leaders on innovation, cities, transport and place.

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Greg Clark is an Honorary Professor at UCL STEaPP, a Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde, a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute and a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and until recently, a global fellow at Brookings Institution.

He also chairs international Advisory Boards for Cities that are reformulating their strategies, positioning, and assets.

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Greg Clark is the author or 10 books and 100+ reports about cities, investment, innovation and leadership. Visit Greg Clark's author page here.


Recent publications include Global Cities: A short history and The Innovation Economy: Implications and Imperatives for States and Regions.

A complete list of all previous publications is on The Business of Cities website here.


BBC My Perfect City

Presented by Fi Glover and alongside Dr Ellie Cosgrave from University College London, Greg Clark is guest urban expert on the BBC World Service series My Perfect City. 


Catch all the episodes here. #PerfectCityBBC

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Greg Clark is regularly interviewed in global media on the role of cities and new industries. Click on each logo on the left to see his thought pieces, articles, and video news segment, 



View Greg Clark’s monthly column with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The column covers cities, climate, and the built environment. 



The Action for Race Equality is a national charity based in London working to champion national and local action to reduce racial inequalities for ethnic minority young people.