Environmental concerns, new technology and increasing demands from our population – all have the potential to transform the UK’s cities over the next decade. Shoosmiths real estate experts give their say on what’s next for the built environment.

Kathryn Jump & Lisa Tye

“Cities will be cleaner and greener – electric cars will begin to predominate (buses and taxis have already started to go that way) and those living in cities will be demanding more green spaces as part of new developments.

“They will embrace technology that makes everyone’s lives easier – smart systems that tell you when trains/buses are running, up-to-date information on weather at immediate hand, deliveries to where you need them when you need them.

“There will, and have to be, greater flexibility of the living spaces in cities – co-living and multi-generational living spaces that provide facilities for people at all stages of life (as well as a built-in support system, for example where grandparents will be living close by to care for children and ultimately to be cared for themselves.

despite the huge influx of data, cities will actually become more human as people crave the interaction with other people

“Elsewhere, despite the huge influx of data, cities will actually become more human as people crave the interaction with other people – this will be facilitated by better curated green and public spaces and by the co-living scenarios we’ve already mentioned.”

Liz Sweeney

“City dwelling will become more and more common as the UK experiences a population growth. Population growth will be centred in the cities as older - and not just students and young professionals - people move to the cities and the UK population ages sharply.

“This will place huge demands and challenges on our cities. There will therefore be increased attention on how cities can become more sustainable, safe and fun to live in.

“Currently in the UK, virtually all decisions are taken at a national level in London. Indeed, the UK has one of the most centralised governments in Europe. To deal with the unprecedented challenges presented by our rapidly growing cities, the next decade will see more powerful local governments pursuing local policies designed to deal with the housing shortfall (for example, prefabricated housing).

the next decade will see more powerful local governments pursuing local policies designed to deal with the housing shortfall (for example, prefabricated housing).

“The trend of high-density residential development will continue in larger cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham as well as development on the existing fringes of these cities - pushing out cities’ ’boundaries.

“The next decade will see a transformation in housing tenure – private sector renting will surge as the majority of young people between 25 and 34-years-old will live in the private rented sector. Home ownership will decline overall as rising prices put it out of the reach for many.”

Andrew Pattinson

“There will be a huge shift generally towards tackling climate change and the built environment represents one of the most cost effective ways of tackling this.

There will be a huge shift generally towards tackling climate change and the built environment represents one of the most cost effective ways of tackling this.

“There already exists regulatory standards for develops to conform to but the next decade will see our industry driving change with sustainably becoming key factors for investors and lenders.

“Linked to this will be the need for more green space in our cities. The benefits of this are wide ranging. Investing in green spaces can lead to increased revenue for local authorities as well as greater social inclusivity and accessibility.”