The long-term prospects point to a world that will continue to urbanize over the next decade— from 56% of the world’s population living in cities today, to 60% by 2030. Urban areas are the engines which will absorb virtually all the future growth of the world’s population. Every region is expected to become more urbanized in the next ten years. Clearly, this tells us that the future of humanity is undeniably urban, and we must plan our cities well to ensure sustainability, equity and shared prosperity.
This raises some key questions about the future of cities: what kind of cities are needed to support the future of humanity? How do we envisage and reimagine the future of cities? What do we want our cities to look like?
The coronavirus pandemic is a stark reminder that urban areas need to be prepared for a dynamic and unpredictable future. COVID-19 clearly exposed the existing challenges that cities face, and their vulnerability to shocks. But each region and each country saw differences in these challenges and these vulnerabilities. The future of cities is “plural”, and we must consider these differences as potential strengths, unpack regional differences, learn together, and adapt urban models accordingly.
The theme of WUF11 will focus on these questions, providing us with the opportunity to anticipate change, course-correct, and become more knowledgeable about the different possibilities that the future of cities offers.