How do we adapt our cities for 2.5 billion more citizens by 2025?

A 100 year shift

More and more people live in cities. According to the United Nations’ research, only around one third of the world’s population lived in cities in 1950. In 2007, for the first time in history, the global urban population exceeded the rural population. By 2050, more than two thirds (68%) are expected to reside in cities. So the proportions from rural to urban switched within one hundred years:

The increasing urbanization rate stems from different factors. First, the overall birth rate is increasing, and the birth rate in cities is growing more rapidly than in rural areas. Second, more people are moving to cities in favor of access to education and health institutions, social networks and job opportunities.

Biggest urbanization growth in developing countries

Today, the most urbanized regions are North America, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe. The biggest shift from rural to urban life will occur in developing countries where a big part of the population still resides in rural areas; Africa and Asia alone will account for 90 percent of the urbanization growth by 2050

Need to redesign our way of living

Imagining that more people will live on the same number of square meters, will force us to think into new ways of living. We will need to reconsider our approach to privacy and adapt to the idea of ‘sharing economies’. A change in housing concepts will bring new challenges and opportunities in building design, architecture and utilities. Urban technology can help address these issues and bring forward new practical solutions. For example, advanced materials and construction technologies can enable circular value chains and longer lifespans of buildings; Air purification systems can reduce air pollution and ensure air quality – inside and outside of buildings; New network solutions and optimization systems help to manage the vast utility and energy consumption in cities; And citizen-focused solutions can provide people with green spaces and with new technologies to organize their lives.



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Dig deeper

United Nations (2019). World Urbanization Prospects 2018: Highlights. New York: United Nations. Reviewed from: