People continue to be drawn to cities by the economic, social and creative opportunities they offer; large cities are more productive than rural areas, producing more patents and yielding higher returns on capital. McKinsey estimates that the world’s top 100 cities will account for 35% of global GDP growth between now and 2025.
However, urbanization also presents major challenges. The world’s fastest growing cities have seen problems adjusting to growth and industrialization, choking under the burden of pollution, congestion and urban poverty. In the developed world, urban sprawl can lead to individual levels of resource consumption far exceeding those in the developing world. Urban settings magnify global threats such as climate change, water and food security and resource shortages, but also provide a framework for addressing them. If the future of cities cannot be one of unsustainable expansion, it should rather be one of tireless innovation.
This report chronicles 10 of the best examples from around the world of how cities are creating innovative solutions to a variety of problems. Many of these solutions are scalable, replicable and can be adapted to a variety of specific urban environments. Some are possible only due to new technologies while others apply technology to ideas that are as old as the city itself.