Achieving a sustainable urban future has become an important focus globally. In this paper, three major themes of a sustainable urban future are presented: a low carbon society, cities in the context of an ageing population and revitalization of the urban–rural fringe. Visions of these themes, in the context of highly industrialized regions, are discussed. To achieve a low carbon society, the importance of technological innovations such as new technologies and systems applied in buildings (homes and businesses), industries, and transportation are emphasized. To adapt to an ageing society, a compact city is seen with responsive transport, infrastructure and services that cater to the needs of the elderly. To enhance the urban–rural fringe, the introduction of eco-industries, which can create opportunities for both sides, is proposed.