Latest Blog

Urbanization Challenges and Sustainability Demands

By Steve Wells, Rohit Talwar, Alexandra Whittington
How will cities meet the needs of swelling populations? Here are some positive solutions to the urban future.
Massive Urbanization by 2050

Of the projected global population of 9.8bn by 2050, the UN predicts that 68% will live in cities – an increase of 2.5bn over 2018 where the proportion was 55%. Of this, almost 90% of the increase is expected to take place in Asia and Africa. Hence, sustainable development will be key to future success of the entire planet. In terms of achieving a very human future, the benefits of urbanization will need to be shared fully and inclusively to ensure equal access to infrastructure, education, and healthcare.

Super Tall, Mega Tall, and Giant Buildings

The science and engineering of building structures has been advancing rapidly. Hence it is now commonplace to see Super Tall buildings of over 300 meters in height and Mega Tall structure of over 600 meters. Currently the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest at 828 meters with the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia targeted at 1,008 meters on completion. As urbanization gathers pace, cities will have to adapt and include more such structures.

Building designs can either can expand horizontally so that they cover a greater area, or they can adapt by growing vertically. Tens of thousands of new skyscrapers will be built by 2050 if current trends continue, and the tallest could go well beyond Mega Tall structures to be a mile or 1,600 meters high. These giant buildings may be the solution to the rapid population growth in urban centers and the lack of available space and housing. Operating effectively as towns or small cities, these buildings will contain everything from housing, workspaces, and medical facilities to gyms, hotels, retail, and leisure activities.

Car-Free Cities

Momentum is gathering around the world for cities to develop plans to manage air pollution through the banning of petrol and diesel cars. For example, London plans to introduce a zero-emission zone in 2025. This is expected to ban petrol and diesel cars from the very center of the city (hybrid cars will be excluded from the ban), and gradually expand until it covers all of the capital by 2050. The UK could see a ban on all sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. Globally, a number of cities and countries are looking to enact such a ban as early as 2025.

Sun-Powered Cities

Reducing costs and exponential growth in demand for solar technology are showing the perceived value of this technology even in the UK market. An indication of the potential of this renewable energy source was achieved briefly in the summer of 2018, when solar power eclipsed gas power stations as the UK’s top source of electricity. Solar power could lead to entire cities which are designed to generate their own electricity. Skyscrapers could be covered in transparent solar panels. Solar paint could also be used to absorb moisture from the air and turn it into hydrogen fuel.

Eco Cities

Ever-increasing populations raise issues of congestion, distribution of resources, and increased pressure on waste management, infrastructure, healthcare, and education. Sustainable cities have an essential role in responding to increasing urbanization in a manner that improves residents’ lives. The aim is to achieve this by focusing on environmental initiatives including limiting emissions, using renewable energy sources, and bringing greater awareness to environmental issues. Eco-cities will increasingly draw on lessons from the natural world and be modelled on the self-sustaining properties and ecosystem structures of our planetary environment.

The Urban Future

Each of these solutions share a common thread: they integrate foresight, environmental best practices, and urban planning to enhance the well-being of citizens. Advances in each of these areas are essential to creating a very human future.


This article was published in FutureScapes. To subscribe, click here.

Image: by geralt


Contact Us

Have a question?

Have an idea for a book or want to contribute your piece to our next project?

Interested in working for Fast Future Publishing?

E Mail:

Latest Blog

PR – Aftershocks and Opportunities 1 – Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future

An opportunity for fresh perspectives. While the world grapples with the current unfolding crisis, 25...Read More…

Why are US firm buying up towns? Could AI resolve geopolitical conflicts? How might Crypto transform financial markets?

New book Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon bursts with provocative ideas, disruptive...Read More…

Fast Future Publishing Limited is a company incorporated in England and Wales registered number: 9484249 ©2023 Fast Future Publishing Limited