Urban Futures | The Pillars

Sarah MillsAccelerator & Education LeadHuckletree12/14/2021

Our cities are defining the future of our planet. What happens in the city doesn't stay in the city, and we must address the impact the urbanisation creates on a global scale. It's time to pave a new, more sustainable direction for how we live, move, work, and play in the urban landscape. 

Alpha Accelerator 2022 is themed around Urban Futures for this very reason. We're seeking the startups making our cities smarter, so we can pave a brighter future for our urban landscape. The four pillars at the theme's core are Mobility and Transport, Smart Data, Environment, and PropTech. Here's why...

Mobility and Transport

Transportation is currently the largest producer of energy-related CO₂ emissions. Researchers estimate that 6 billion gallons of fuel is wasted annually by idling vehicles, so innovation to reduce congestion and traffic is crucial. As we emerge from the pandemic armed with a better awareness of our daily routines, the lack of infrastructure often fails us. From the rise of micro-mobility companies to innovations in the EV (electric vehicle) landscape and transport efficiency IoT solutions, brands operating here are set to become transformative for consumers and the environment.

Smart Data

Data is key for us to be able to tackle the complex challenges our cities face, and the Internet of Things (IoT) has meant smart cities can move from utopian dream to reality. Cities across the globe are rolling out data-capturing IoT technology to connect and improve infrastructure, efficiency, and convenience to enhance the quality of life for their citizens. The collection of smart data allows our urban spaces to become more optimised, safer, more secure, and more sustainable places to live.


City planning is fundamental to the future of our planet. Our urban environments contribute to around 40% of the UK and Ireland’s total carbon footprint, and innovating to improve this is key to fighting climate change. The way we manage waste streams, reduce emissions, and care for our water and air quality all need a rethink. From smart waste bins and AI-powered recycling robots and rainwater harvesting - we want to meet the brands reinventing our cities for the benefit of the environment.


PropTech, the amalgamation of real estate and technology, is front and centre of the digitalisation of the property industry within urban environments. Innovation within this sphere could be the key to unlocking a wealth of potential to positively impact property-based societal issues including increasing development in accordance with the UN’s SDGs. A more resilient, more responsible property industry will emerge in the wake of this innovation. Take BIM (Building Information Modelling) - this allows architects, engineers, and construction professionals to plan, design, and build with more efficiency and with life cycle awareness for the property.

Are you innovating in these smart cities, or know someone who is? Or, do you have a network within this area?

Applications for Alpha 2022: Urban Futures are open until the 27th of February. Find out more or apply. 

Sarah Mills

Sarah is our Accelerator & Education Lead, looking after The Hundreds Club, Alpha Accelerator and Future Founders Academy, as well as a variety of member seminars and workshops. Superpower: style icon.


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