ELI-Keare Forum—Sustainable Cities: Harnessing Urbanization to Achieve Social and Environmental Goals
The catchphrase is "sustainable cities," densely populated regions that in theory can efficiently provide environmental and social services for the urban population of the world, which in 2008 became a majority of the human race, according to the U.N. Population Fund. By 2030, this number will swell to 5 billion people and many prognosticators foresee 70 percent of the world’s population living in cities by mid century.
Cities have great advantages. They provide good jobs and are the most efficient form for delivery of services such as waste disposal, power, education, fire protection, and transportation, when compared with rural areas. City dwellers also use less energy than their counterparts in the countryside. Many experts envision that cities of the future will utilize more sustainable water, waste, energy, and transportation infrastructures.
But, what will drive the innovation needed to create these cities? And, what role will government, industry, and NGOs play in bringing about this change? Certainly not immune to partisan politics, cities have nonetheless been the proving ground for sustainable development, as these expert panelists are prepared to testify while debating the best policies.