- Published: 25 January 2021
It is estimated by the United Nations that around the year 2008, the world changed from being majority rural to majority urban.
As recently as the 1950s, only 30 percent of the world lived in cities. From 2008 onward, cities have been growing rapidly, and rural areas have continued to see population decline. The United Nations maintains that around three million people move into cities every week.
At this rate, within a couple of decades, including natural population growth, the urban population could grow by three billion. Assuming that this trend continues, it’s a fair assumption that the future of humanity will belong to cities.
This future is a profoundly different world from the entire history of homo sapiens to date. Within a few decades, most humans will know life only in an urban context. The countryside will be somewhere that you visit, not a place where you live.
Life will continue in rural areas, and some people will move from cities to be part of that life. But those will be a minority. Rural parts of the world will still be vitally important for agriculture and tourism, for those that live there, preserving culture and habitat, and more. Overcoming unknowns
Humanity’s destiny in an urban future should not come at the price of rural heritage and value. In fact, it should increase the importance of the natural world because of its importance to a sustainable urban ecosystem.
By 2050, an urban future for 70 percent of humans will mean that the way they work, play, and live will all reflect this reality.
Unless they mess it up, smarter cities have the potential to provide more career opportunities, better education and healthcare, and a safer and more prosperous environment.
Of course, as you look out from today, there are many unknowns that humans will need to understand and confront, such as the impact of climate change, automation, and other natural and manmade threats.
Our human responses to each will also define and shape our life in cities. Remember that cities have already shaped human behaviour and destiny — they’ll just become a lot more important and complex in the years ahead.
Recognising that the future is urban should reinforce the urgency to prepare and act in building smarter cities for not only communities today but also all communities to come.
*) This article is the first in a series of predictions on ten ways that cities will define the human future. It is based on extracts from Smart Cities for Dummies by Jonathan Reichental.
Autor(en)/Author(s): Dr. Jonathan Reichental
Quelle/Source: Cities Today, 18.01.2021