If humanity is to navigate its way towards and prosper in
a carbon-constrained world, the transition will permeate
every aspect of our lives. What we eat, where we live and
how we move around will surely be subject of adaptation.
Nowhere is this more true than in cities. They are already
home to 50% of the world’s population, generate around
80% of global economic output and account for 70% of
Moreover, this trend is set to continue. Estimates of future
population growth predict that three quarters of humanity
will live in cities by mid-century, with developing and
emerging countries experiencing most of this increase. By
any measure, future generations will largely experience a
low-emissions existence through the lens of city life.
The way cities develop, particularly large and fast-growing
cities in developing and emerging economies, will therefore
have profound and long-term implications for humanity’s
future. With this in mind, it is imperative that decisions and
investments in urban infrastructure are leveraged to achieve
sustainable economic growth within the carrying capacity
of the planet’s systems and resources. The alternative is
grave: long-term lock-in effects of unsustainable fossil fuelbased
technologies and development, leading to run away
climate change, ecological destruction and biodiversity loss.