The world’s urban population is currently growing faster than ever. By 2050 it is estimated that around three-quarters of the world’s population will live in cities[1]. This rapid growth will continue to put increasing strain on our interconnected food, energy and water systems, which were never designed to handle urbanisation on this scale.

Over the past 100 years most urban development has taken place organically. However, given our global population is expected to reach 9 billion by mid-century[2], this approach is no longer fit for purpose. Instead, we need to start planning our future cities much more rigorously, trying to ensure they are liveable and prosperous for decades – even centuries – to come.

However, to achieve this goal, we first have to understand what a model future city looks like, and this requires us to ask new, and difficult, questions, including:

  • How can we make the most efficient use of the resources we have?
  • How can we integrate our energy, water and food systems more effectively?
  • How can we use technology and data to create smarter and more resilient urban environments?

For the last few years, we’ve been working closely with several cities around the world to answer precisely these types of questions, but this year we want you to help make a brighter future.

Shell Ideas360 is a platform that fosters innovation to turn ideas into a reality. Discover how last year’s entrants, Team Passive House, looked at solving the questions above.

Team Passive House considered a problem that was close to home. The Arabian Gulf, in particular Qatar, produces some of the highest levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. After a brainstorm session, they decided to study the air conditioning units and looked in to multiple techniques that could reduce carbon dioxide emissions and keep energy consumption to a minimum.

To get your creative juices flowing, we’ve created The Future Cities Quiz, which aims to inspire young innovators to think about the kind of city they want to live in, both now and in the future.