Analysts said our current city infrastructure is not prepared to manage escalating issues of pollution, population growth and inequalities, while urban planners are facing more pressure to stimulate a ‘green’ recovery.
Management consulting firm McKinsey estimated the world needs to invest US$3.7 trillion per year in the transportation, power, water and telecom systems that underpin economic activity and provide essential services just to support expected rates of growth, with emerging economies accounting for 60% of that need.
“It has never been more crucial for both existing and new cities to be made smarter, more efficient and sustainable,” the bank noted.
“We expect developments in edge computing and 5G rollout to further accelerate smart infrastructure opportunities, particularly within intelligent building management systems, digital twins, clean energy, smart grids & real-time usage monitoring.”
Among UK-listed companies, Vodafone is expected to harness increased demand for high-speed, reliable connectivity, while National Grid is set to be a secondary beneficiary of the push for smart grids, transport and the related electric vehicles adoption.
Even big oil names Wood Group PLC (LON:WG.), BP PLC (LON:BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSA) are poised to modify their strategy, according to Barclays, although some of the changes are not expected to be positive for the businesses.
In the real estate sector, landlords will be required to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings to assist tenants in meeting their net-zero targets.
British Land PLC (LON:BLND), Great Portland Estates PLC (LON:GPOR), Land Securities PLC (LON:LAND) and Derwent London PLC (LON:DWN) “have been at the forefront of identifying and coping with the changing needs of occupiers,” analysts commented.