Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the global management consulting firm, has inaugurated its Global Center for Future Cities in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The center was officially launched in the presence of key leaders, decision-makers, and subject matter experts from diverse sectors. Informed by insights from BCG’s report, titled “Cities of Choice: Are People Happy Where They Live?”, the center is established to address the complex challenges and opportunities that arise from rapid urbanization, focusing on innovative and sustainable solutions.
The BCG Global Center for Future Cities aims to consolidate expertise across multiple sectors, including urban planning, mobility, economic growth, and digital transformation. Drawing from the report’s findings, which surveyed more than 50,000 people in 79 cities worldwide, the center recognizes the urgency of its mission. As cities are projected to accommodate approximately 68% of the global population and more than 90% of economic activities by 2050, the role of the center becomes increasingly significant. It is designed to contribute to sustainable urban development in alignment with the objectives of both business and governmental entities.
In the ‘Cities of Choice’ report, Riyadh notably ranked 25th. The report also highlighted that cities in the Middle East; including Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait City, and Riyadh, have room for improvement in the quality-of-life dimension. Yet, the broader perspective reveals not a deficit but an opportunity. These cities scored exceptionally well in social capital, safety, cultural identity, and economic opportunities. Their collective high score in speed of change is a testament to the region’s dynamism. The Global Center for Future Cities is our commitment to harnessing this momentum for sustainable and innovative urban development,” said Vladislav Boutenko, Senior Partner and Topic Leader, Cities & Regions, BCG Henderson Institute Fellow, Future of Cities.
Unveiling Key Trends Shaping the Global Cities Landscape
BCG Global Center for Future Cities is a proactive measure to rapid urbanization. The center’s establishment is informed by extensive research and data, particularly from BCG’s comprehensive report that identifies six key trends shaping the global cities landscape. These trends serve as a roadmap for the center’s initiatives, guiding its focus on areas that are critical for the future of urban living.
Six Key Trends Shaping the Global Cities Landscape:
- Urbanization & Migration: Cities must manage urban sprawl and density to prevent cost increases and environmental degradation. Inter-city mobility is on the rise, and cities must prioritize livability to attract and retain residents.
- New Urban Mobility: With the number of cars set to double by 2040, cities must adapt to new forms of mobility like electric and autonomous vehicles. Strategies include shifting to public transport and limiting city center access.
- Economic Growth & Innovation: Cities are the engines of economic growth, contributing to 90% of global economic activities by 2030. Spatial development and infrastructure are key to attracting talent and investment.
- Digitization: Cities must integrate vast amounts of data for effective decision-making. Digital twins could save cities up to $280 billion by 2030 through efficient urban planning.
- Sustainability & Resilience: Cities must adopt Net Zero concepts and improve infrastructure to combat climate change. Strategies include increasing green spaces and adopting new construction standards.
- Resident Centricity: The success of a city is measured by resident satisfaction. A people-centric design is crucial for attracting talent and ensuring long-term sustainability.
“In today’s world, people are more mobile than ever, and cities, especially in the Middle East, are in a race to attract and retain top talent. Riyadh is no exception; it’s a city buzzing with urban development and innovation. The competition is fierce, and the stakes are high, as talent becomes increasingly selective about where to live and work.” — Philippe Cornette de Saint Cyr, Managing Director and Partner and Riyadh Office Lead.
The BCG Global Center for Future Cities in Riyadh is designed to meet the complex demands of rapid urban growth. Both within the region and globally. Comitted to innovation and sustainability, the center aligns with the goals of diverse sectors, including government and business. As Riyadh and other cities continue to expand and transform, the center’s work will be increasingly vital in guiding this development in a sustainable and inclusive direction.
“Cities are on the path of transformative growth, driven by extensive infrastructure investments in the coming decade,” states Suresh Subudhi, Managing Director and Senior Partner; Global Leader, Travel, Cities, and Infrastructure. “The key lies in steering these investments towards smart, sustainable environments that address both climate challenges and residents’ comfort. Success hinges on creating urban spaces that offer a holistic experience – one that blends advanced infrastructure with the services and amenities desired by various resident types. From enhanced public spaces to improved mobility options and robust economic opportunities, the focus must be on policies that resonate with the diverse needs of the urban populace. In the coming decade, cities must act swiftly and strategically to meet the ever changing needs and expectation of its residents.”