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West Midlands firms given an insight into life in 2030

A UK population exceeding 71 million, a move to smart cities and robot deliveries are all factors West Midlands companies will have to contend with in 2030


More than 50 leaders from the regional business community received an insight into the future for UK PLC and how the built environment may look in fifteen years time, as part of a Business in the Community’s (BITC) ‘Future Insights’ project launched yesterday.

Developed by WSP│Parsons Brinckerhoff, the guide gives the clearest vision yet of the future landscape that firms will operate in and covers predictions in six main areas; demography, climate change, politics, resources, value change and technology.

Businesses were challenged to start planning now to tackle issues, ranging from an ageing workforce and greater threat of terrorism to the demand for carbon negative communities and power plants managed by Smart Grids.

“It’s hard to think beyond the present, to think out of the world we’re living today, but it’s something we have got to start addressing,” explained Mark Hurley WSP│Parsons Brinckerhoff’s UK Head of Environment.

“If we think back ten, fifteen, twenty years, it’s remarkable how much the internet and consumer habits have changed, not to mention human nature, work-life patterns and the homes we live in.”

He continued: “The businesses that have succeeded and really made a difference have been those that have embraced innovation and planned ahead. This new guide – Key Trends for the Built Environment – will give an overview of the key changes we can expect to see and helps inform strategic planning processes.

“Most of all we want to start the debate, and get the conversation going now on how we should be preparing for 2030 and beyond.”

The 38-page report, which is also backed by Pinsent Masons, Anthesis, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Lloyds Banking Group and Cisco, features a detailed insight into the trends we can expect to see in 2030 and recommendations on how to future proof assets, infrastructure and operations.

It also showcases a number of current projects from across the UK that are already addressing issues raised in the report.

Key predictions for 2030 include:


  • The demand for housing in the UK could be the highest in Europe
  • The number of older people in the UK will grow by 50% between 2013 and 2030
  • A population that’s more connected but more lonely

Climate Change

  • Supply chains will be frequently disrupted by extreme weather, with a 10% chance of a major flood in England over the next fifteen years
  • Peak temperatures in cities regularly over 35oC.


  • Britain may be Europe’s top economy by 2030
  • City regions will gain more autonomy to control their local environments and economies.


  • Homes will be zero carbon and super water lean as a matter of course
  • 3D printing and other approaches will dramatically cut waste from building
  • The built environment will be built for flexibility rather than single use

Value Change

  • Health becomes a driving force in design and in the workplace
  • Communities will establish local systems to share unused spaces, possessions and food


  • New information and communication technologies will improve all infrastructure
  • Sensors will be the eyes and ears of systems – from traffic networks to home heating
  • Existing networks, such as fixed line telephones, are repurposed for new uses
  • Delivery robots will ensure delivery of any item within two hours
  • New materials transform insulation, energy generation everywhere and imaginative designs

Gudrun Cartwright, Head of Innovation and Partnerships, at BITC, continued: “I’m delighted that Birmingham – a forward thinking City – was chosen to pilot this project and launch the report.

“We are asking senior leaders to engage employees and suppliers in conversations to develop ideas and innovations that will futureproof their businesses and help support local communities.

“The Future Insights project is all about translating global megatrends for a UK audience.  We hope that our pocket summary, alongside impending sector specific guides (starting with manufacturing in July led by Pinsent Masons) will help business to start thinking about what they can do now to stay successful for the medium and long-term. 

She concluded: “Business in the Community can also help through our Big Boardroom Agenda programme and our network of corporate advisors, who can provide mentoring and access to sustainability experts.

“2030 seems ages away, but the time to act is now and I’m confident that Birmingham will be at the forefront of embracing future changes.”

To find out more and get involved with the Future Insights project contact futureinsights@bitc.org.uk.  You can download a fully copy of the report here. 

For media enquiries, please contact Russ Cockburn, Cucumber PR on 07812 600271 or email russ@dc-pr.co.uk.

About Business in the Community

Business in the Community is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. Our members work together to tackle a wide range of issues that will help to create a fairer society and a sustainable future.  We have more than 800 members and engage more than 2000 companies in our programmes, reaching 6000 companies through our global partner network.

We provide a wide range of services, practical guidance and creative solutions for business.

  • The Prince’s Seeing is Believing Programme, Leadership Teams and networking.
  • Practical guidance, research and training.
  • Benchmarking services, management frameworks and responsible business indices.
  • Local, national and global community partnerships and volunteering opportunities
  • Programmes that address key social issues.
  • Awards and events for public recognition and peer learning

About WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

WSP and Parsons Brinckerhoff have combined and are now one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We bring together our engineering and multidisciplinary services in a vast array of industry sectors, with a focus on technical excellence and client service.

In the UK, 5,150 people provide consultancy services to all aspects of the built and natural environment working across both the public and private sectors, with local and national government, local authorities, , developers, contractors and co-professionals The combined business has been involved in many high profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, New South Glasgow Hospital, the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, the re-development of London Bridge Station, Manchester Metrolink and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network.

www.wspgroup.co.uk | www.pbworld.com



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