Living in an urban world

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Page Last modified 21 Mar 2023
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An increasingly urban world will probably mean increasing consumption and greater affluence for many. But it also means greater poverty for the urban underprivileged. Poor urban living conditions and associated environmental and heath risks could impact all areas of the world.

Why is urbanisation important for you?

The design and governance of urban areas, particularly in south-east Asia, will have strong impacts on global greenhouse gas emissions and resource demand. Once built, a city can be difficult to fundamentally alter. Inhabitants adapt to these conditions and their behaviour can also be difficult to change. In many places in the developing world, cities currently risk locking in energy- and resource-intensive models of urban development for decades ahead.

In a highly interconnected world, withchanges in urbanisation and related consumption patterns, Europe will mostly be affected indirectly. Impacts may include changing European land-use patterns induced by tougher competition for resources and the threat of diseases developing and spreading globally.

Graph 6: Urban trends

For the first time in history, more than 50 % of the world's population live in urban areas. By 2050, about 70 % of people are likely to be urban (UNDESA, 2010). Demographers estimate that Asia will be home to more than 50 % of the global urban population by 2050.

For more information see: Global megatrends: living in an urban world:

Urban trends


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