Growing cities and building resilience

In barely 200 years, the percentage of the world's population living in urban areas has increased from just 3%, to over 50%. In the UK it is now over 80% and expected to keep growing. But what does this extraordinary growth mean for the infrastructure and resilience of our urban spaces?

Thanks to the innovations of civil engineers and other built environment professionals, we have been able to take infrastructure such as roads, rail systems, drainage and waste disposal largely for granted.

But as the demand on our cities' infrastructure continues to grow, how are we to ensure that this infrastructure continues to serve our needs?

ICE believes it is time to think more closely about how we can ensure the ongoing resilience of our infrastructure, and deliver truly world class urban spaces. Over the next 12 months ICE will bring together built environment professionals and academics, host a range of events exploring urbanisation issues and identify practical solutions to the challenges posed.

Get involved

Find out more about our key themes below and the critical questions posed, read what the experts have say, and join in the discussion!

Buildings and infrastructure

Urbanisation and aspiration

Civil engineers and other built environment professionals understand the practical challenges of designing and providing the infrastructure which enables people to live their lives. But cities are also about the aspirations of the people who live and work there.

Our challenge as engineers is to enable and create not only functional cities, but cities that also help meet the economic and social needs of the full range of citizens. 

In this short video past President of the Institution, Professor David Balmforth, introduces ICE’s two Thought Leadership projects and sets out the range of changes faced by our future cities and their citizens. He emphasises that the success of future cities will depend on their liveability, and that Civil Engineers can help “create cities we can be proud of".

What kind of city do you want?

As part of our work at EcoBuild, we asked the public at large what kind of city they wanted.

EcoBuild word cloud
A visulation of what attendees at EcoBuild said they wanted from their cities

I want a city that has genuine sustainability at its heart, invests for the long term, has green space, is affordable, and has a unique local identity.

I want a city that is clean, safe, accessible to all people, provides affordable housing, and maintains public open spaces for all.

I want a city that retains its identity and doesn't become an identikit collection of high street shops.

Shaping the future

In order to help guide this discussion, ICE has produced a green paper, Urbanisation, that identifies some of the key areas for discussion and debate.

This has produced a series of questions around specific themes that we believe are key to shaping our future cities housing, transport, land-use and technology. These issues influence the decisions and experiences of those who living in cities now, and into the future.

Below you can find details of each of themes and explore more information. Simply click on one of the tabs below to find out more.

Events to boost your skills and knowledge

ICE's industry leading conferences give you a chance to hear from world class speakers and network with peers from across the built environment sector.

ICE Bridges 2016

1 June, 2016

ICE Bridges 2016 will explore methods to assess, manage, maintain and upgrade aging assets and explore innovative techniques and materials to design new bridges with whole-life maintenance as an integral part of the design brief.

  • Hear case studies spanning the life cycle of bridges
  • Take away best practice lessons
  • Network with leading professionals
ICE Procurement and the Supply Chain 2016

Expert speakers at ICE Bridges 2016 include:

David Climie

David Climie
Project Director, Forth Replacement Crossing

Kevin Dentith

Kevin Dentith
Chief Engineers (Bridges & Structures), Devon County Council

Mike Gallop

Mike Gallop
Director, Director Route Asset Management - Western Route, Network Rail

Wayne Hindshaw

Wayne Hindshaw
Chief Bridge Engineer, Transport Scotland

Other events