Urban Centers – Preferable Place for Billions of Us to Settle Down -- So What About Helping Growing Cities Become More Sustainable?

G&A's Sustainability Highlights (07.23.2018)
Jul 25, 2018 10:00 AM ET

“Urban Centers – Preferable Place for Billions of Us to Settle Down -- So What About Helping Growing Cities Become More Sustainable?

In focus: With the majority of the population moving into urban centers in coming decades…how can the action of today’s city planners create a better future for us? Scientific American shares some perspectives.

The Seto Lab at Yale University tells us that in 2008, the global urban population exceeded the world’s rural population for the first time – and that by 2050, 70% of the population will be living in urban areas. Nearer term, by 2030 there will be 1.5 million square kilometers of new urban land area. That will triple the global urban land area of the year 2000 as we entered the 21st Century. 

The forecasts suggest a limited window opportunity to shape future urban development. Author Chan Heng Chee offers suggestions in a very interesting Scientific American article for you – our Top Story this week.

Author Chan Heng Chee is Ambassador-at-Large for the Singapore Foreign Ministry, and chair of the Lee Kuan Yew Center for Innovative Cities and the Singapore University of Technology and Design. We may remember her as the ambassador to the U.S.A. (1996-2012).

She reports from this year’s World Cities Summit in Singapore, which this year focused on “Livable and Sustainable Cities: Embracing the Future Through Innovation and Sustainable Cities.” 

One necessary ingredient for embracing sustainable development: a visionary leader and a desire to implement the vision. The availability of the Sustainable Development Goals is another. Institutional structures are needed to put the vision in place (she offers examples from her home country of Singapore). And the fellowship of the city leaders worldwide is important – the example being the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

The message: You are not alone – and collaboration and cooperation is critical if the civic, business, financial and other sectors are going to make the world’s urban areas sustainable in this century. This is a fascinating report that you will want to read.

FYI - the Top 10 Cities roster today (in descending order) is: Zurich, Singapore, Stockholm, Vienna, London, Frankfurt, Seoul, Hamburg, Prague, and Munich. 

This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view full issue.