By the year 2030, five billion of us will live in cities or large urban regions, many of which will be home to more than 10 million inhabitants.
This new urban world brings together a high concentration of human densities and economic activities, placing heavy demands on the environment through increased energy consumption and air pollution. The way large urban regions are currently developing has destructive consequences for social sustainability, public health and safety. The future challenge for policy makers will be to sustain the economic vitality of large urban regions, while increasingly competing on the basis of their cities’ ecological viability and quality of life.
Based on foresight research and text-mining analysis, this paper shows that as focal points of both risks and opportunities, large urban regions are ideal laboratories to detect the worst human threats, observe their overlapping dynamics, and explore the existing innovative solutions to mitigate their effects.
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Rob Weterings is team leader sustainability within Strategy and Change.
Eline Chivot is a strategic analyst at HCSS. Her research projects typically focus on horizon scanning and global trends related to broad security, defense, economic and societal issues.
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