The process of urbanization is triggered by population growth and technological progress. Cities accumulate global dynamics, bringing together flows of people, energies and consequent risks. As a result, our habitat is undergoing a rapid transition. The city may take advantage of opportunities for momentum, planning and action in response to events or it may miss the opportunity, losing out in global competition. There is considerable interest in finding what affects the prosperity of the city. Global trends and socio-demographic developments are recognized as the great world powers. This study examines how these forces stimulate cities and how to use them in a development process in order to achieve an urban transition. In search of essential elements that guide towards an inclusive and successful urban transition, urbanization is studied. Global processes significantly affect cities with individual and different outcomes, which are examined in the case study part. The case study provides cross-sectoral analyzes of three European cities, based on national statistics, international and local databases. The study indicates that global forces and local conditions are of similar importance for the development of the city. The case study illustrates the divergence of results generated by global forces. Therefore, a difficulty in building a common approach, because there is no generic answer to the challenge. However, by identifying and mapping trends and patterns, inclusive and contextual strategies can be appropriately created, thus contributing to overall sustainability. Although creating development strategies and future visions is common practice, there is a lack of tools to identify context-dependent factors. The specific conditions and models of city development are constructed with a long-term perspective, and the social short-term often stands in the way of improvement. To work with global forces, the city must recognize its unique situation. The current phase of urban development differs from one city to another, which makes it possible to make the learning transferable and to no longer repeat the same stages on the development path, whatever their evaluation.