Bad for humans because pollution is increased, deforestation and environmental hazards.
The growth of global cities and the mass urbanisation of the world’s population receive a lot of attention in the business press, and rightly so: the world now faces unprecedented population growth and a rate of urbanisation that is simply unimaginable to most of us.
By 2025, 29 cities will be home to more than 10 million people. By 2030, more than 1 billion people will live in China’s cities alone. More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas; by 2050, 80 per cent will do so.
But is this a good or a bad thing?
Reading through the press release of a report released today by the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers, one would be led to think that this mass urbanisation could spell the end of humankind. To be fair, the report, Population: One Planet Too Many People?, does propose a series of recommendations that it believes will prevent the devastation of the earth’s resources that could be brought about by the growth of global cities.
McKinsey’s What Matters investigation into global cities provides much-need relief and hope for the urbanised future. In stark contrast to the Population Report, a series of thinkers have written essays on how great urbanisation could be for the human population.
For one thing, urbanisation will result in a decline in population by 2050, according to Steward Brand in his article, Urban squatters save the world. Other writers in the series ponder how the growth of sustainable cities could end poverty and improve the lot of all humans. In his piece, China’s cities in the sky, Jonathan Woetzel explores how China could create model cities of urban sustainability that the rest of the world could learn from.
If you have the time, it’s worth reading at least a couple of these essays. I’ve kicked the doom and gloom to the curb; instead I’m excited and enthused about the creativity and innovation that will emerge from all the new cities in the south.