Future Cities

Future Cities is an initiative to bring Canada's urban planning community together to accelerate innovation and transform cities to meet our needs and desires.

A program for local development organizations, public institutions or businesses.

The mission of Future Cities

The mission of Future Cities is to find collective solutions to the problems that affect cities and city dwellers, including the two major issues of our time: inequality and climate change.

By developing new governance models for civic assets, data, public spaces and neighbourhood revitalization projects; by testing new ways of civic and inclusive participation; by stimulating innovation in the design and planning of green and social infrastructure; and by supporting the creation of new financial products to sustainably address social, economic and environmental issues faced by communities, Future Cities participates in the development of equitable, prosperous cities that are conducive to resilience and regeneration.


Cities where social and economic inequalities are eradicated, and opportunity and access are inclusive and accessible to all.


Cities where improving the state of the natural environment is the priority.


Cities where economic opportunities are abundant for everyone. 

Four areas of urban innovation

While Future Cities aims to accelerate innovation to transform cities for the benefit of all, the collaborative infrastructure needed to enable such transformational change remains to be built. 

To this end, the program welcomes the MIS’s social R&D activities in urban settings, according to four pillars of experimentation:

Inclusive urban governance: elaborating and developing new governance models for civic assets, data, public spaces and neighbourhood revitalization projects. These models must enable partnerships between the public and private sectors, citizens and philanthropic organizations. Examples are the United Way Community Impact Project, Winnipeg Promise and Envision Nova Scotia.

Financial innovation in support of social impact creation in urban areas: creating new financial products and new impact investments to support projects and programs that promote equity, strengthen the common good and enable low-carbon strategies to progress to improve social, economic and climate resilience in the coming years.

Citizen participation: testing original modes of civic participation that is inclusive of marginalized voices, as well as transforming the context in which decision-making, investment and community action traditionally take place. Examples include developing participatory/citizen budgets, civic technology tools, 100In1DayWe Are Cities and Transforme ta ville. 

Green infrastructure with potential for positive social impact: improving the design and planning of green and social infrastructures. This can be done using open data and object policies, as well as new social-oriented artificial intelligence and virtual reality technologies. Community-based partnerships for transforming and programming civic assets and apartment buildings are one example. Models include Fab City, Amsterdam Smart City and Blox.

These themes are integrated into research and development activities in partnership with local communities, private sector leaders, non-profit and philanthropic organizations, social and solidarity economy organizations and community organizations, financial institutions, universities, and representatives of all levels of government.

An inclusive
co-creation approach
in social R&D

Future Cities is an ambitious program. To achieve our goals, we work on an inclusive, bottom-up, co-creation approach, in collaboration with urban planning actors from different sectors, including civil society, universities, the private sector, the social and solidarity economy, global networks and governments, as well as philanthropists.

Many social innovations are under development or have emerged as part of this social R&D program.

Past and ongoing social innovation projects