Corporate Innovation: How London Is Solving The World's Urbanization Problems


Hello! And welcome to our October Corporate Innovation newsletter. 

When it comes to incentive travel, A2D has been setting the industry standard for over twenty years. That's why we created our pioneering International Corporate Experiences Program

With innovation at its core, our unique corporate program connects our client companies with other leading organisations around the world, facilitating the opportunity for unmatched learning and idea generation as well as tours of offices and facilities. 

A2D Travel takes care of all the finer details including hotel and flight bookings, restaurant reservations and social activities, ensuring our program attendees have an unforgettable experience.

If you would like to learn more about this inspirational program and explore how it could benefit your own company's growth, please get in touch so we can arrange a meeting.

I hope you enjoy this month's article on urban innovation in London.


Stig Egard
Founder & CEO
A2D Travel & Concierge

This month, we turn our attention to London and take a detailed look at how the city is helping to solve some of the world's urbanization issues. 

World Population

In 2017, the United Nations published a review of global demographic trends and prospects and predicted that the world’s population would reach a staggering 8.6 billion by 2030.

With approximately 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline. This dramatic growth has been driven largely by increasing numbers of people surviving to reproductive age, and has been accompanied by major changes in fertility rates and increasing urbanization (the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas).

Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. In Europe, the figure is 74%.


With urbanization comes both negative and positive effects. When urbanization happens within the appropriate limits, the positive effects can include improvements in employment opportunities, technological and infrastructural advancements, transportation, educational, medical facilities and general standards of living. However, urbanization is often extensive and occurs at a rate that is completely unmanageable. When this happens, the results are consequentially adverse. Housing shortages, overcrowding, unemployment, traffic congestion and increased crime are just some of the detrimental effects.  

So, whats being done to counter these negative effects of urbanisation and to what degree is innovation playing a part? It seems London has the answers.

Urban Innovation in London

When it comes to re-defining and shaping the future cities of the world, there is one company that has really grabbed our attention. Future Cities Catapult is a collection of urbanists, data scientists, designers, developers, project managers and an assortment of other professionals. Together, they are working to help UK firms develop innovative products and services to solve the problems and meet the changing needs of cities, and to sell them to the world.

Future Cities Catapult is located within the Urban Innovation Centre in Clerkenwell, London. Described as a collaborative hub for businesses, academics, city leaders and entrepreneurs to connect, develop and create smart city solutions, it is also home to some of the world’s best urban innovators. Companies such as Citi Logik - a market leader in understanding transport demand patterns from anonymised mobile network data and TM Forum - a company specialising in connecting digital ecosystems can both be found there. The Urban Innovation Centre is also known for hosting a range of innovation-related events.


At Future Cities Catapult, they believe there are so many companies in the UK working on finding solutions for successful urban living that they have called it the ‘Advanced Urban Services’ sector. The companies operating in this sector are focusing on the thorny issues of productivity-sapping congestion, unlocking new space for housing, improving the efficiency of public services, and creating inclusive urban environments that allow citizens of all ages and abilities to participate, contribute and flourish. By working directly with British innovators and entrepreneurs to dismantle the barriers to market success, Future Cities Catapult believe those companies will be rewarded with a disproportionately large share of the global market for advanced urban services - a market estimated to value $1 trillion by 2023.

Elsewhere in London, there is another brilliant example of urban innovation in the form of Boxpark in Shoreditch. Created in 2011 by Roger Wade who described it as the “world’s first pop-up mall”, it’s a food and retail park made entirely out of refitted shipping containers. Originally intended to open for five years, Boxpark Shoreditch is still operating today and now boasts 19 restaurants and bars and 27 shops. The phenomenal success of Boxpark Shoreditch led to the opening of a further Boxpark in Croydon in 2015 and a soon-to-be opened Boxpark in Wembley.


Shipping containers have also been used to address London’s critical housing shortage as families on lower incomes struggle to afford the astronomical rents and people in traditionally well paid jobs cannot afford to buy. QED Sustainable Urban Development and Ealing Council are working together to help people in need of emergency accommodation in the west London area. Making use of fallow land and brownfield sites, the project focuses on modifying stock piled shipping containers into modular homes that can be ported between temporarily available spaces.

It’s clear that London is playing a leading role in solving some of the urbanization issues facing the rest of the world. Often billed as the one of the greatest cities in the world, if not the greatest city in the world, it’s the perfect destination for an A2D International Corporate Experiences Program. Check out our sample itinerary below.

Sample Itinerary
International Corporate Experiences Program


Fly with Norwegian Airlines from Oslo to London Gatwick

07:20 - 08:40
Duration: 2h 20

08:00 - 11:05
Duration: 2h 05


Stay at Clerkenwell's most charming boutique hotel,The Zetter; or Holborn's brand new hotel, L'Oscar.


Business Activities

Tailored to your company’s objectives but could include conference attendance, keynote speakers, tours of offices and facilities, brainstorming sessions with industry leaders.

Social Activities

  • Tottenham vs Southampton - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 5 Dec

  • Mariah Carey at the O2, 11 Dec

  • Def Leppard at the O2, 06  & 18 Dec

  • Paul McCartney at the O2, 16 Dec

  • Olympia, The London Int'l Horse Show, 17-23 Dec

  • The Nutcraker, 01 & 09 Jan

  • Swan Lake, 03 - 13 Jan

  • Tottenham vs Watford - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 30 Jan

  • Chelsea vs Tottenham - Stamford Bridge, 27 Feb