Global Agenda Council on Urbanization 2012-2013
The world is currently witnessing an unprecedented spurt of urbanization: while the period between 1950 and 1975 saw population growth evenly divided between the urban and rural areas, the balance has tipped dramatically towards urban growth in subsequent decades. Today, 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, and it is anticipated that 70% will by 2050.
While urbanization is occurring worldwide, the trend is most significant in places that are the least equipped to cope. While many megacities will emerge, the bulk of new urban growth will occur in smaller settlements that lack the institutional, legal and financial frameworks to pay for infrastructure. They will consequently have less capability to be resilient in the face of natural disasters.
As a result, innovative governance and financing structures are needed to catalyse more efficient infrastructure and housing development and to improve resilience. To accommodate demand, researchers anticipate that the built environment of today will need to expand by a city equivalent to the size of Greater London every month for 40 years.
Yet providing infrastructure is only part of the solution. How the new urban fabric is laid out has a lock-in effect that shapes resource consumption patterns as well as health and economic dynamics for generations. Thus, institutionalizing sustainable urban development models and land-use policies are equally essential steps for managing urbanization.
In the midst of urbanization, the field of “smart cities” is emerging. It is drawing new sectors to the urban sphere and offers promise in generating solutions to urban challenges through information and communications technology applications. Thus far smart cities projects have focused predominantly on developed cities; it remains to be seen how smart city concepts can be scaled up in fast-urbanizing regions.
- China estimates that 400 million additional people will move to its cities in the next 30 years.
- It took India nearly 40 years to add 230 million urban residents, but it will take only half that time to add another 250 million.
- Fewer than 35% of the cities in developing countries treat wastewater, and half of all solid waste within most cities in low- and middle-income countries is not collected. Most of this deprivation is concentrated in urban slums.
“The current design and planning practices for cities are rooted in the 19th century. Hugely successful in their time, these 19th-century models are no longer the best solution, and in fact have become part of the problem. The world is now a lot more crowded and complex and requires more efficient, longer-term solutions for servicing urban areas.”
Abha Joshi-Ghani, Head, Urban Development and Local Government Practice, Sustainable Development Network, World Bank
World Habitat Day
1 October 2012
Meeting of the Minds
6-9 October 2012
San Francisco, USA
6th Urban Research and Knowledge Symposium
8-10 October 2012
China Centre for Urban Development & World Economic Forum Urban Development Meeting
Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
The Global Agenda Council on Urbanization aims to advance the international dialogue on urbanization by placing a lens on four issues: removal of disparity between urban citizens; discovery of the best practices being followed to proactively address the concerns of ageing populations in cities; creation of “innovation infrastructure” to support entrepreneurship and job creation; and the harnessing of informality for greater prosperity.
The relevant projects include:
- The “Future of Urban Development Initiative”, which provides a neutral, third-party setting for ministers, mayors, the private sector and experts to jointly think through the major urban challenges of the 21st century and accelerate the transition to innovative urban development models. The core activity of the initiative is for the multistakeholder Steering and Advisory Boards to work hand-in-hand with select Partner Cities around the world to build strategies to meet specific urban challenges in those cities, and catalyse collaborative action.
- “Connected World: Transforming Travel, Transportation and Supply Chains”, which seeks to develop scenarios to provide an industry perspective on how the travel and transportation ecosystem may transform under the influence of changes in the macro-environment (changing customer needs, new mobility frontiers, technological developments and so on) by 2025 and beyond. It also looks at the implications of change for industry players and policy-makers.
- The “Strategic Infrastructure Initiative”, which aims to accelerate the implementation of critical economic infrastructure projects in countries worldwide. The initiative provides insights to national-level governments on two fundamental questions: how they should prioritize projects to create the greatest impact in terms of economic growth, social uplift and sustainability; and once the projects are selected, how they should prepare, procure and deliver assets most efficiently and effectively. The initiative has worked with the governments of Panama, Colombia and Ethiopia, among others.
Research Analyst: Lina Boren, Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Manager: Robin Ried, Associate Director, Head of Urban Development, email@example.com
Forum Lead: Martina Gmür, Senior Director, Head of the Network of Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Transforming Urban Transportation: How Will It Be Done?
- Urbanization: The Unstoppable Global Trend
- The Emergence of "Rurban" India: Shaping Next Generation Cities
- Confronting the African Urban Challenge
- Globalization in the Urban Century
- Scenarios Series: Managing Urbanization in the Middle East
- SlimCity -- Managing Urbanization
- The Rise of Megacities
- Urban Renewal: How Cities Are Aiming for Sustainable Growth