Today 55% of the world’s population resides in urban areas; in2050, that will be staggering at 68% of the world population will be living in cities.
We are heading for an urban crisis unless we recognize the four parts of the urban transition and bring them together.
Urbanization needs to take the idea of smart, through data, and make the city intelligent.
Urban transitions are both physical and technology solutions combining. The solutions need always to change the current performance and delivery of a different sense of hope.
So we have Four Parts needed for Urban Transition?
The recognition that there were four parts comes from a piece I was reading a while back was to recognize that Urbanization has four urban transition aspects, outlined by the Urban Transitions Alliance.
First, we need a significant Infrastructure transition, as much of the existing infrastructure is not fit for purpose. We need comprehensive infrastructure plans, ones built on flexible and renewable energy.
Secondly, we need a Mobility transition. Our dependence on vehicles needs to change. We must accelerate the e-mobility thinking, in trains, buses, motorbikes, and cars. Many of our cities are choking on pollution from hazardous air quality and congestion. Our mobility does not necessarily need to be our own
Thirdly we need this all-important Energy transition. We need new energy solutions; we need to deliver sustainable electricity, powered by green energies, not carbon-based. Cities can only become attractive places to live if we make this energy transition and that will require new physical systems that meet the needs of expanding cities
The fourth and perhaps the most important to manage, and manage well, is the Social transition. We have constant tensions in cities, and it is through social engagement, building a shared identity can we successfully manage any change. We need to be fully inclusive, so all living in a city or its urban area can share in any economic and societal gains.
So the urbanization needs a real connected narrative that should connect these four parts.
A set of solutions that simply improves on the existing is not good enough, we must seek to transform. These always come from applying innovation to these four transition needs of the urbanization story, so it becomes a “fertile” place for dynamism, ideas, and where social cohesion can thrive.
We are seeing pockets of progress occurring in many cities After the initial reaction to do something, we are now well past the point of picking off the low hanging fruit; we need to dig deeper into undertaking the urbanization transition.
Many of our cities are in real crisis or lacking the transformational plan to take them through their changes required. The hard part of this transition is ahead of us.
We are a point of needing to manage our Cities in a more comprehensive way where Urban Transition is seen in a ‘holistic’ way, not in opportunist ways that may be good messages we are doing “something” but are not sustaining, lasting solutions to growing pressures in our cities.