What will your city look like in 2050?


It is projected that by 2050 there will be 2.5 billion more people living in cities. Even with this estimated growth, cities are still continually changing with patterns of development that can be irregular and difficult to predict. Designers are challenged to mitigate the long-term design consequences, that if negative could suppress economic, health benefits and supress resilient and sustainable urban environments. The design and shaping of the built environment impact how people move around and carryout out their daily activities in comfort and safety. Therefore, the understanding of the dynamic relationship between people and space has become ever more important.

 The first day of the Architecture of the Future conference will be dedicated to the topic The Future of Cities, which will open with a lecture on “Masterplanning of the City 2050” by Paolo Testolini, the Principal of Woods Bagot and Global Sector Leader of Cities and Places.

«With more than 9 billion people living in cities by 2050, urban planning will have to go through a major change. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is quickly unfolding with the evolution of IoT, artificial intelligence, and robotics, altering the way we move, live, work and play in our artificial environment. We are witnessing a new era of both great potential and grave perils to humankind», – Paolo Testolini says.

Paolo Testolini, drawing on his twenty-year experience in project implementation, will talk about the future of cities in terms of considering potential global risks. People need places to eat, work, live and play but not only for purely functional reasons; this process of creation must take into consideration higher values such the creation of happy places, places that encourage people’s well-being, environments that stimulate connections with the natural world and different human needs. As cities will be more populated, space will be limited, the verticality of cities presents incredible challenges that must be resolved as a holistic approach. It is perhaps today more than ever that we should attempt to predict the future of cities in order to mitigate potential global risks ahead.

With more than 9 billion people living in cities by 2050, planning of cities will have to go through a major change; the high-density environment will present a series of challenges that need careful consideration. Mobility, permeability, equality, security, global population are key topics that should be explored in order to envisage the polycentric city of the future.

Adelaide Convention Centre

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

The experience of Paolo and Woods Bagot is notable for the scale of geographic expansion – the company’s projects are implemented across five continents, and its branches are located in 15 cities around the world. Woods Bagot was founded150 years ago in Adelaide, Australia’s fifth largest city. Woods Bagot offices are strategically located in Global/ “hot spots” around the world such London, Shanghai and New York, which – in 2018 the city once again topped the Turner & Townsend rating of cities with the highest construction costs, London – fifth place in the same list. Last year, Shanghai was ranked for the first time in this ranking. Over the past five years, profits from the construction industry in China have grown to $ 2.11 trillion. Dubai’s construction sector ranks 5th in terms of profitability in the country, and it grew by 4.5% last year. Experts predict further growth associated with the EXPO 2020 exhibition. Woods Bagot founded offices in these cities and 10 others, successfully offering architectural and consulting services in the field of design, planning in a variety of disciplines – sports, transport, aviation, health, science. 850 employees of the company are engaged in the design of universities, cultural centers, hotels, residential and office spaces. The scope of projects created by the company ranges from 13-square-meter stalls designed for New York and awarded with the 2019 Architizer A + Awards to 123 hectares of Science and Technology Park in Doha. This project, which became part of the Qatar Foundation, has become a real incubator for international established tech companies and startups. The project, created by Woods Bagot, brought together a medical training center, a conference hall, restaurants, and retail spaces, which became Qatar’s first free trade area. One of the first to appreciate all the advantages of working in the Science and Technology Park were GE, Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Shell, that have opened their offices there.

Qatar Science and Technology Park

About Paolo Testolini

Paolo Testolini graduated from the Wales School of Architecture at Cardiff University; he is a Chartered RIBA architect.

Based in Dubai studio, Paolo oversees the firm’s global masterplan and Urban Design team to deliver holistic and sustainable design solutions. With more than 20 years of experience leading Architecture, Urban Planning and Environmental Design projects, Paolo’s ethos is based upon a sensible business case for the proposed mix of uses and sustainable agenda. Working in conjunction with the firm’s Superspace platform, Paolo’s master planning combines evidence-based methodology with insight into the way people relate to spaces.

Paolo has directed master planning, mixed-use, retail and residential projects around the world—from Italy, Greece, Mexico, China and the UK. Currently, he focuses on large-scale projects in the Middle East—including the Dubai Land Retail District, the Palm Jumeirah Masterplan and the Expo 2020 Souks masterplan in Dubai. Paolo is a skilled public speaker. He regularly collaborates with the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, the Welsh School of Architecture and Italy’s Roma Tre University by teaching courses and speaking at design conferences. Previously he worked for global companies like Atkins and BDP based in London and Shanghai.