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Greg Clark

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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

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The DNA of Cities Podcast

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The Reinvention of London

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The Growing Momentum Behind 3Ci

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