Khaled Awad is the Founder, Grenea and a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Urbanization

by Khaled Awad

Khaled AwadThe Open Forum “Cities of the Future” and the third Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai this week are taking place at the time when the world is witnessing the intersection of two dramatic social trends: urbanization and sustainability.

“Cities of the Future” is in many ways equivalent to “Future of Cities” and even to “Future of Humanity” as more than 9000 new cities will be needed by 2050 to cater for the expected population growth, with more than 70% of the world population becoming urban.

Frankly, we have not really succeeded in the last two meetings in Dubai to communicate the importance of developing a new urban manifesto through the Summit. I hope the different councils have now realized that a radical change is needed to address the creation of new cities and the adaptive re-use of the existing ones.

It is only with human ingenuity that we will be able to transform the urbanization risks into a world of social and economic opportunities.

I also hope that the interactive settings of the Dubai summit, the focus of highly knowledgeable members in different councils and the diversity and versatility of the topics addressed by the councils will provide a fertile platform for the much-needed innovative thinking.

The urbanization council will have the challenge of lifting the importance and criticality of changing the future status of cities from a threat to a potential driver for the global economy. It will be a thrill to advance visibly in this direction during the next few days.

The fact that 50% of the world population is already urban has become an opening cliché for any urbanization discussion. It is time we moved from futile clichés to positive actions. I hope the Open Forum and the Dubai Summit will lay the seeds for such actions.