By 2025, it is estimated that around 58% of the world’s population or 4.6 billion people will live in urban areas. In developed regions and cities, the urban population in cities could account for up to 81% of the total population. This is expected to present grim challenges for city planners, who will have to review how basic city services are provided to residents more sustainably. As a case in point, cities of today collectively consume 75% of the world’s energy and are responsible for 80% of energy-related carbon impact on the environment.
The ability to provide sustainable and clean energy will become increasingly important as we approach 2025. This significant confluence of headcount will also have implications on the feel and flavour of urban life. Today, cities like Seoul account for approximately 50% of the country’s GDP, whilst countries like Budapest and Brussels each account for 45%. In the future, cities are expected to contribute to two-thirds of the world’s economy and 85% of global technological innovation. Future cities will have to evolve to support this new and significantly higher level of economic activity and technological innovation.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in smart cities. In particular, they see smart cities as a panacea to many of the challenges and a source of leverage for the boundless opportunities that urbanization brings. Generically, smart cities are urban environments that are built on “intelligent” solutions that enable cities to transform, support and manage rapid change.