100 Urban Trends That You Should Know About

Want to know what’s driving the future of cities? Just peruse this list and be up to date on everything from the future of parking to the maker movement–and how they’re changing the urban landscape.

100 Urban Trends That You Should Know About
Cyclist via Shutterstock

As the world population continues its endless upward climb, cities will become even more important than they are today. And if you want to understand where cities are going, you have to be aware of the most important trends happening now. There are far too many to detail in a single post, but the BMW Guggenheim Lab Berlin has done us all a huge favor by rounding up 100 of what it calls “the most talked-about trends in urban thinking.” This is by no means a definitive list, but it is a snapshot of what people were talking about in Berlin during the Summer of 2012 (when the traveling city-focused Guggenheim Lab was in the area).


We’ve discussed many of the trends listed in past posts. Among the ones that we’ve covered:

  • Urban Data. From Chicago’s attempt to bring together data from all of the city’s different departments to San Francisco’s DataSF open data initiative, cities around the world are figuring out how to better harness the endless streams of data that come from residents and city services.
  • Maker Movement. Some of the most exciting technological innovations to have emerged in the past couple years have come from maker spaces, where people pay a monthly fee to have open access to pricey tools. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently teamed up with the TechShop chain of maker spaces to fund two new locations.
  • Electric Cars. This is a trend that hasn’t quite reached a tipping point–and probably won’t for many years–but it’s one that we write about extensively. Check out our coverage here.
  • Future of Parking. Up until recently, the parking industry (specifically, parking meters) hadn’t changed for the better part of a century. Now startups like Streetline are leveraging wireless sensors to make city parking easier, while companies like Parkatmyhouse are letting city dwellers with empty parking spaces make some extra cash for sharing.
  • Smart City. Our resident expert Boyd Cohen defines smart cities as having a “broad, integrated approach to improving the efficiency of city operations, the quality of life for its citizens, and growing the local economy. Check out his rankings of the top 10 smart cities in Europe here.

This just barely scratches the surface of the Guggenheim document. If you have half an hour to spare and the desire to quickly get informed on the topics being discussed in cities today, check it out.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.