Urban Planning Trends For Sustainable Future Cities

Luxury car manufacturing and global sustainability are not two markets you would typically expect to find in association with one another. However, in this writer’s opinion BMW has disproven this natural assumption and has offered the world a veritable goldmine of data and information on how to solve problems facing today’s megacities in order to ensure the prosperous and healthy future of urban life.

The Urban Trends Project


BMW Guggenheim Berlin Lab. Photo courtesy Christian Richters, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Two years ago BMW teamed up with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City to found the BMW Guggenheim Lab, an initiative studying urban-centrism. The “Lab”, as it is referred to as hit the road to explore people and ideas in New York, Berlin, and Mumbai. The explorers – Lab Teams – were up-and-comers from the areas of architecture, urban planning, art and design, technology, science, education, and sustainability.

The experimental process involved a mixture of workshops, presentations, roundtable discussions, lectures, special events, surveys, and various other methods of engaging and empowering residents to offer up their own ideas on what they see for their cities’ futures.

The Lab Venues


BMW Guggenheim Mumbai City Lab. Photo courtesy Atelier Bow-Wow.

The Lab venues themselves in each city were modular, flexible, and accommodating to the particular workshop or event being hosted. To give you an idea of its functionality, the Lab’s head Design Architect, Atelier Bow-Wow of Tokyo described the structure as a “travelling toolbox”. The “tools” themselves were configured so that they could be raised or lowered depending on the requirements of the particular program in session.

Letting Go Of What We Know

The theme of the Lab in all three cities was “Confronting Comfort”. In essence it was all about opening up the minds of the residents of each city to forego what they deemed comfortable living in exchange for each city’s desperate need to implement solutions that are environmentally viable and sustainable in the growth of urban populations.

The Results Are In


The Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends From The BMW Guggenheim Lab Exhibit Logo.

With the theme in mind and by using the data collected, the Lab has put together new systems, ideas, and solutions which can be implemented in urban life throughout the world’s megacities. These solutions stem from the values and suggestions of the very people who will be directly affected by the proposed systems. If only our politicians and elected officials would use similar methodology!

The “Participatory City” experiments wrapped up in Mumbai on January 20, 2013 however researchers continued collecting data both in onsite locations and online. The data collected has now been arranged in a glossary of trends outlining key findings from the Lab.

Valuable Data


Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends from The BMW Guggenheim Lab Exhibit. Photo by David Heald, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

The top key findings have been orchestrated into an exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum called Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends from the BMW Guggenheim Lab which kicked-off on October 11th 2013 and will run until January 5th 2014. This exhibit explains the 100 hottest and most discussed urban trends in the three participating cities.

Click here to see a full list of each city’s 100 Urban Trends from the BMW Guggenheim Lab.

What are some of the trends you see happening in your city? What is being done to implement these trends? Which ones work and don’t work in your urban area? Be sure to share your ideas, suggestions, and opinions with PowerHouse Growers!

About The Author

PowerHouse Growers
PowerHouse Growers teaches you how to sustainably integrate urban agriculture into your cities, businesses, and homes. We provide clear solutions and benefits for better health, increased productivity, and lower environmental impact. By connecting you with experts, we bring awareness to solutions that may not be top of mind.