By 2030, scientists predict that another 1.1 billion people will be inhabiting planet earth, bringing the world’s total population count to a number just shy of 9 billion. Most of them will be born in densely populated urban areas in Asia and Africa – areas which cannot sustain such immense population growth.
A group of experts at nature.com have several interesting ideas about how this issue could be dealt with.
The first is that mass migration could and should be encouraged by an alliance of nations, to help people move to more sustainable areas.
This strategy has many difficulties and drawbacks – as witnessed by the recent mass migration of people from the Middle East into surrounding areas. But it is suggested that if planned and managed with care and precision, this could be a very effective way to make the most of earth’s limited resources. This is discussed in this video in great detail.
The second is to refocus how cities, regions, and municipalities are currently planned.
Currently, there is a very large focus on city planning, whereas it would be more beneficial to plan regionally, to set up satellite cities and suburban communities that will avoid the never-ending urban sprawl that wastes so much valuable land. It requires a different, further-reaching, even global mindset to plan for the future in this day and age.
The team at nature.com concludes:
“Urban region planning requires a new mix of expertise. Essential are experts in: ecosystem and landscape ecology, water quantity and quality, agricultural soil quality and productivity, economics, transportation infrastructure engineering and community development. International agencies, non-governmental organizations, academics, and professionals should step forward with case studies, examples, models and new projects. Major universities should establish multisector urban region planning units to develop models and initiatives.
Society must think globally, plan regionally, then act locally.”
Some interesting thoughts in the article about possible responses to growing populations and growing urbanization.
Changes are happening so rapidly that it is unlikely old plans and responses will be adequate for the challenges being faced.
Infrastructure asset management will help with the planning that is required, the management of existing assets to continue to deliver service levels, and the development of new assets to meet increasing demands.