Re: Planning Early - Can it Really Happen? It's true. There's nothing like an economic incentive to push things along the right path. But sometimes it can be win-win, don't you think?
Look at the Shanghai subway example. The city built a ton of new roads -- 40 percent more -- in the 1990s and then realized everyone was sitting in their cars for hours. In forking over the equivalent of 1 percent of GDP to build the subway system -- not a small commitment -- they probably envisioned a reasonable return on that investment. Rapid transit makes good economics, even if the return is long term.
Re: Planning Early - Can it Really Happen? The cynical part of me says that your statement, "human ingenuity has a way of coming through when the stakes are high," needs to have "as long as there is money to be made from the solution."
The dreamer part says, "Yes! We can learn from our mistakes, and we can create wonderful new cities in a wonderful new world." The dreamer also says, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."
I hope some of us dreamers can find a way for the folks with the power to make money on our better world vision; then both the cynic and the dreamer could end up being right. Mostly.
Re: Planning Early - Can it Really Happen? Perhaps I'm an optimist, but it seems to me human ingenuity has a way of coming through when the stakes are high.
Asia's growth probably presents the biggest challenge -- simply the speed at which its cities are expanding staggers the mind. And the environmental implications that go with that are even more sobering. But there are a few bright spots such as Shanghai building a subway system from scratch once it realized the city was becoming an enormous traffic jam. That system now carries something like 8 million commuters a day.
It may not be smooth growth, but there are so many good examples of smart cities around the world and such good communication of ideas these days that some of that has got to filter through....
Re: 72% by 2050 - Disaster or Opportunity? "History teaches us that it's likely to be both."
Perhaps the right thing to do is actually pay attention to our history, and try to avoid our past mistakes. As you commented a few posts above, the developing countries could use and plan a roadmap using strong examples of successful stories, and completely avoiding costly mistakes. However, this seems to be quite a challenge to current projects, and most of them are going with their guts, not with data analysis.
I wonder too, how we are going to be living in 25 years, but what interest me the most is how are we going to cope with the current problems with overpopulation and resources... when there are at least the double of people around us.
Re: Planning Early - Can it Really Happen? Sadly, I have to concede that you're probably right, NewDream. There is already evidence that planned cities in emerging nations (like Nigeria) don't always unfold as hoped.
72% by 2050 - Disaster or Opportunity? The nicely composed graphic is a fascinating extrapolation of current trends. Like any statistical prediction, its accuracy is dependent on a number of factors, including not only the availabilty of accurate raw data but also the validity of the model and its inherent assumptions. I'm not going to focus on that part though.
I'm instead going to stipulate that the graphic represents a reasonable projection of future growth. That means it makes some sense to discuss what it is showing us in the context of what kind of future that may be. In short, what will 2050 feel like? Will it be a nice place to live? What will people be like? Will they live in Mega-Gardens, Mega-Dormitories, or Mega-Slums?
The sheer quantity of population increase is mind-boggling. Even though the percentage of people in Mega-Cities will still be less than 15% of total world population, these cities will clearly represent an incredible amount of power both in a political and a technological sense.
I wonder how the next tier breaks down; will cities between 5 and 10 million be increasing in a similar geographic distribution? The disparity between Mega-City growth in Asia and in the rest of the world cannot be ignored. Does it mean there are simply more cities ready to grow? I believe that Asia already has measures in place to govern population growth, so I'm a bit confused on this part.
There are many things to talk about in analyzing this graphic and the United Nations Urbanization Report. I haven't decided whether I think this is impending disaster or glorious opportunity. History teaches us that it's likely to be both.
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