Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why are you creating Future of Cities?
A. The challenges that our cities face today are growing. While the ongoing pandemic has exposed a level of global social inequity and unfolding disequilibrium in the natural environment, it also has accelerated a movement for change. We believe that the built-environment as it exists today is in need of an urgent overhaul in order to be more sustainable, inclusive, healthy and culturally vibrant. We are creating a platform to help ignite this change through our catalytic real estate projects, our coalition of thinkers and change-makers, and the ecosystem of next-generation built-environment companies we are backing. We believe that we can positively impact the lives of 1 billion people.
Q. Is the Future of Cities a Non-Profit?
A. No, the Future of Cities and its affiliates is a for profit portfolio of companies, focused on impact investing. We only invest in and develop projects that align with our ESG standards and impact goals. We believe in what we call the quadruple bottom line approach. People, Planet, Profit & Purpose. We do, however, work with not-for-profits, NGOs, foundations, family offices, governments, B-corps and others who align with our mission by providing information, education and thought leadership through our platform. We will also invest in startups and small businesses through the venture capital arm of the platform.
Q. What categories do Future of Cities projects fall under?
A. We believe holistic urban development calls for a multidisciplinary approach. Future of Cities projects incorporate ideas and innovations from a variety of industries, including:
Public Health + Wellbeing
Urban Planning + Zoning
Mobility + Public Transport
Smart City Infrastructure
Circular Supply Chains
Arts, Culture + Leisure
Smart Data + Privacy
Public Policy Reform
Alt-Financing + Ownership
Q. What projects is Future of Cities involved with right now? And where?
A. Future of Cities has an active investment pipeline, which currently exceeds $1B in total value. We have a particular focus on Opportunity Zone domiciled “Future Proof” mixed-use neighborhood based projects in “Next Growth” cities. The Real Estate division of the platform is raising $250 million in strategic third-party capital to execute on identified opportunities.
We will be announcing the locations of these projects over the next year.
On the venture side, the platform has already seeded its first strategic investment, which will be announced within the first 90 days of our launch. There are many others in the pipeline and more detailed plans of the Future of Cities Venture Fund will be announced within the first 90 days of the launch.
Q. Do we provide grants and financial assistance to small businesses, NGOs & not-for-profits?
A. Currently, we do not provide grants or financial assistance to small businesses, NGOs or not-for-profit organizations, however, we provide information, education and thought leadership through our platform, so we can be a resource to small businesses, ngos and not for profits. We do invest in startups and small businesses through the venture capital arm of the platform and will release more specific details on this shortly. We do help incubate and accelerate tenants and businesses within our real estate projects and venture ecosystems as well.
Q. Do you have a real estate or venture capital fund and how can we invest with FOC?
A. We do not have a fund for real estate or venture capital currently. We do, however, have a Future of Cities QOF (Qualified Opportunity Fund), which invests in opportunity zones and Qualified Opportunity Zone Businesses. Qualified investors and companies may invest with us through SPEs & SPVs (special purpose entities & vehicles).
Currently we are not raising capital for a blind pool real estate private equity fund. We are focusing on partnering with aligned capital providers on specific projects & deals or programmatic joint ventures. On the venture capital front, we are initially raising capital via special purpose entities (SPVs, SPEs) set up for investment with the flexibility to do follow-on investments.
Q. How does this platform differ from other sustainable development platforms / RE funds?
A. Unlike other real estate development funds, Future of Cities is a mission-driven consortium, part-investment vehicle, part-venture capital ecosystem and part-think tank invested in transforming communities by adopting environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies to improve the quality of urban living. Additionally, the venture capital arm of the Future of Cities Platform makes targeted capital injections into key industries and innovations that drive regenerative development, advance sustainability practices and support smart city growth.
Q. You mention regenerative placemaking. What is that?
A. Regenerative placemaking is a system-based approach focused on enhancing relationships between and among diverse stakeholders and the needs of the communities, environment and society that surrounds them. For Future of Cities, regenerative placemaking is about addressing the long-standing issues of how unsustainable buildings and communities drive deeper systemic challenges.
Our holistic approach begins with inclusive planning and community outreach to foster a deep sense of place. Recognizing that great projects cannot be forged alone, we simultaneously seek private, foundational and government collaboration. In addition, we will partner with patient, responsible capital that recognizes the importance of transparently reporting on ESG objectives. Finally, we intend to popularize new building methodologies and materials, and to empower an ecosystem of local businesses and innovators in the process.
Q. Are you planning to engage local leaders (civic, community, etc.) in projects?
A. Absolutely. The incorporation of local leaders is an integral part of our coalition to pioneer new urban design logic to build regenerative cities.
Q. Is Future of Cities an inclusive platform for local communities?
A. Yes, the involvement of local communities is imperative to Future of Cities. We’re driven by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #11 of “Sustainable Cities and Communities,” and inclusive planning, cross-sector collaboration and co-design are key to realizing this plan.
Q. How are you adhering to Environmental-Social-Governance (ESG) standards?
A. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED is the platinum standard for sustainable construction, as is WELL for wellbeing. Yet there’s no comprehensive model for holistically designing smart cities, districts, and neighborhoods. Future of Cities is focused on transitioning from singular building & industry standards models to a systems-wide approach.
We aim to catalyze change at a broader level and to measure success accordingly. In practice, this means adhering to and expanding upon environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, using low-carbon & carbon capturing materials, adhering to anti-displacement practices, endowing land-trusts, following Opportunity Zone best practices, and the rights of nature.
Q. What are some of the specific ways you will build these projects in a more sustainable, eco-friendly way? How are you specifically addressing climate change-related issues?
A. Future of Cities intends to popularize, share and open source next generation building methodologies and materials, climate solutions that can scale and our project plans will align with best practices, integrating local stakeholder vision supported by data-backed research & analysis of impact standards provided through our partners, drawing from the breadth and depth of our global network of subject matter experts, technology partners, investors, policy makers and advisors.
Q. What type of companies are you looking to attract as part of your venture ecosystem?
A. We’re looking for companies that believe in our mission of reinventing built environment in a post-pandemic world. Future of Cities wants to invest in and partner with aligned companies, technologies, small businesses and solutions that are driven to innovate via environmental-social-governance (ESG) strategies to revitalize communities while generating outsized returns.