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Global Future Cities Program

view of roads with colorful images at night
Nov 1, 2016

Scoping Study Areas

In 2016-2017, we led the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Scoping Study for a Global Future Cities Program. This assignment operated in three scoping study countries (Nigeria, South Africa and Turkey) and had the overarching purpose to propose cities and thematic intervention areas in each scoping study country that would serve as a basis to inform and design a model for a Global Future Cities Program. The Global Future Cities Program is to be financed under the UK £1.3 billion Prosperity Fund.

Specific Methodology

We designed a specific methodology to:

  1. Select five cities in each country to undertake scoping activities;
  2. Conduct extensive scoping activities in the selected pilot cities;
  3. Undertake a UK market study evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of British organizations in the Future Cities sector as well as their willingness to operate in the scoping study countries;
  4. Perform a matchmaking process assessing how UK organizations are placed to implement potential downstream urban development projects in the selected cities.

Assessment Needs

The scoping study assessed the need, interest and willingness of the study cities to learn and gain knowledge from experience of UK cities in terms of Future Cities and development in urban infrastructure, energy and mobility. It also assessed the relative strength of UK organizations in delivering solutions in urban and infrastructure development across planning, transportation, energy, water and solid waste management.

Fostering Collaboration

At project start - with the purpose of sharing and discussing project findings - a Steering Committee gathering representatives from various UK departments, professional organisations and trade bodies was formed. The Steering Committee included members from the FCO, the Department for International Development (DFID), the Department for International Trade (DIT), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Future Cities Catapult. Steering Committee meetings served as discussion forums to foster collaboration as they were the opportunity to provide an overview of emerging Future Cities investment opportunities in the scoping study cities, and how UK Future Cities organisations are strategically placed to capture them.


Information collected as part of the project was used for the development of a Concept Note submitted to UK Ministers outlying the principles of the Global Future Cities Program. Three Pillars (Urban Planning, Transportation and Energy) were put forward to inform the Program’s structure. The Concept Note that the project supported was successfully submitted to FCO Ministers and subsequently approved. It sets out the principles for an £80 million of UK investment in the sphere of Future Cities.