city growth

43 articles

How to Embed Sustainability Into U.S. Infrastructure

Public-private partnerships could hold the key to a chronic problem in the United States.

Since the U.S. election, there has been a lot of discussion about rebuilding America’s infrastructure — namely, its electricity, transportation and water and sewage systems. Elected officials of both parties, academics, industry associations and other experts agree that the United States has underspent on infrastructure for decades, leading to a slow deterioration. According to the […]

How to Provide Education for Millions Where There Are No Teachers

Young people in Nigeria will help build the future for generations to come.

Nigeria, a country in West Africa, will be the third most populous nation in the world by 2025. A more dubious data point is that many Nigerians will be young, illiterate and jobless. Instability and chaos there have the potential to create the same elsewhere, especially in Europe, which already knows well the cost of upheaval […]

If I Was Leader of My Country, This Is What I’d Do

Young leaders give their opinion on how they would reshape the future of their country.

More than half the world’s population is under 30 years old. This prompted the World Economic Forum to make an unprecedented, large-scale survey with a goal of determining the mindset of this young generation. The Global Shapers survey was carried out by WEF’s Global Shapers Community, which is a global network of Hubs developed and […]

The Factories of the Past are Turning into the Data Centers of the Future

Here's how our data-rich lives will transform our physical and social landscapes.

We live in a data-driven world. From social media to smart cities to the Internet of things, we now generate huge volumes of information about nearly every detail of life. This has revolutionized everything from business to government to the pursuit of romance. We tend to focus our attention on what is new about the […]

6 Issues That Will Shape the EU in 2017

The EU reflects on past issues to identify challenges and opportunities in 2017.

A year ago in Davos, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Europe published a short report: Europe: What to watch out for in 2016-2017. We noted that the EU “seems to be moving from one emergency to the next” and that “Europeans have taken their eyes off more profound long-term challenges.” We concluded […]

A Call For Responsive and Responsible Leadership

Why trust, sensitivity and empathy are the leadership qualities of the future.

Leaders have to be responsive and responsible. They must understand that we are living in a world marked by uncertainty, volatility and deep transformational changes. Many people are living in precarious situations and searching for identity and meaning in a fast-changing world. They want to regain their sense of purpose. It requires courage and commitment […]

How Blockchain Will Transform Our Cities

How will blockchain change the internet? By transforming it from an internet of information to an internet of value.

Many trends on the horizon offer opportunities that could transform our cities. From self-driving vehicles and the sharing economy to cloud computing and blockchain technologies, each of these trends is quite significant on its own. But the convergence of their disruptive forces is what will create real value and drive innovations. Take blockchain and the sharing […]

Evolving Cities for the Digital Economy

To thrive in the transition to a digital economy, cities need to build networks of people that share information.

To thrive in the transition to a digital economy, cities need to develop the right types of knowledge and know-how in their companies and workers. This is not only accomplished through formal education and training but through networks of people sharing information. As new technologies transform our economy, the cities that can best leverage these networks […]

India’s First ‘Smart Village’

Can a public-private collaboration transform India’s struggling communities?

In a way, Mahatma Gandhi conceptualized smart villages. A champion of participatory democracy and grassroots development, he believed that making villages self-contained and sustainable was the first step toward empowering India. Contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t against industrialization, markets and competition as long as they did not lead to the passive or active exploitation […]

Better Bridges, Better Lives

In the near future, bridges won't just be bridges anymore.

There’s no shortage of iconic bridges in the world: Golden Gate, Brooklyn, (London) Tower, Pont du Gard, Chengyang, Millau Viaduct, Rialto. But have you ever heard of a bridge comprising a performance amphitheater, a café, picnic gardens, waterfalls and interactive art installations? It’s no fantasy. The winning design (by OMA + OLIN) for the 11th […]

Secure Data, Safer Delivery

Keeping the global delivery chain safe from terrorism means employing new technology and better data security, says Tom Ridge.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the shocking terrorist attack in the heart of New York City, at the Pentagon and in my home state of Pennsylvania prompted our nation to confront a very real question: Are we truly prepared? As we commemorate our nation’s deadliest terrorist attack 15 years later, we have come a long way […]

The Giving (WiFi) Tree

How do you tackle air pollution in cities? With WiFi-emitting birdhouses, of course.

It may be one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities, but Amsterdam could do more to improve its air quality, according to a report that grades efforts by European cities to cut transport emissions. The study gave Amsterdam a D+ rating last year. This was partly because, unlike other European cities, the Dutch capital has […]

Tracing Urban Movements with Urban Transport

Bike-sharing data will change the way you see cities around the world.

Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular means of urban transport, thanks in part to an explosion in bike-sharing schemes in cities around the world. These public bike-hire programs are generating a wealth of GPS tracking data that some city authorities have posted online. And now, researchers in Germany have found a clever use for some […]


First World Problems are Third World Problems and Second World Problems too.

It’s time to accept something: #FirstWorldProblems are dead.  Used to describe a complaint that is thought to be trivial in nature, First World Problems makes one thing clear: Those of us living here in the “first world” are wealthy and challenged with small issues, while those other people living over there in the “third world” are in […]

Building a Digital City

Technical innovation alone will not give rise to intelligent cities. Industrial expertise is also vital.

Industrial companies are different from technology companies. And I don’t just mean that they have ladders. When you provide the foundation for the way the world’s systems work every day, you think differently. Water systems, energy systems, transportation systems and lighting systems all work for a very long time and require thoughtful planning about maintenance, […]

6 Powerful Lessons from the Transformation of Medellin

Medellin is considered a success because stakeholders understood the value of defending its existence.

Medellin, once a city ruled by crime, drug trafficking and domestic war in the last 20 years of the past century, has made it on to the list of the top 10 urban innovations. This may sound like a news headline but it is much more than that. It is the opening statement of a […]

Megacities Provide New Benefits to Humanity – and Pose Unique Challenges

As the world’s biggest cities get bigger, logistics and transportation networks in them aren’t keeping pace.

Christopher Kennedy, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Toronto, has one suggestion for how the world can start to solve the problem of climate change: transform the world’s megacities. Megacities are teeming metropolises that have populations of at least 10 million people. They include Indian cities like Mumbai and Delhi, where transportation […]

The Challenge of Transformation

Innovative and flexible supply chains are needed to help Southeast Asia live up to its potential.

The following is based on a speech given by Mark Wallace, UPS Senior Vice President-Global Engineering and Sustainability, at the Harvard Asia Business Conference in Cambridge, Mass. In the second of a two-part series, Wallace focuses on the transformation of Southeast Asia.  Click here to read part one. As Southeast Asia prepares to emerge from China’s […]

Cities Are Getting Brighter

Cities need to be smarter in how they manage growth. They can learn from San Diego, which has deployed America’s first intelligent lighting system.

The denizens of the world’s sprawling megacities all face similar daily challenges: traffic, busy sidewalks, packed public transportation, no available parking. “Urbanization is coming at us like a freight train,” says Rick Freeman, global product manager for intelligent devices at GE Lighting. “The same old ways are plain going to fail. We have to get ready.” There’s no time to […]

A Greener Blueprint For City Delivery

We need a new model of logistics to ensure those city dwellers get what they want, when they want it – and in a sustainable fashion.

By 2050, two-thirds of all people will live in a city. This means roads will get even more congested. Air quality in those urban areas will likely worsen. And the demand for goods in megacities will further test already strained transportation networks. In some bigger cities, such problems have already surfaced. There are restrictions on […]

How Green is Your City?

Moving towards an index of urban sustainability.

More than half of the world’s population lives in cities and that percentage continues to rise, making cities critical areas for adopting practices to preserve natural resources. How green is your city? How does it match up to other cities? Is it making progress in becoming more sustainable? There is no definitive list but we […]

Open Data, Better Cities

What Works Cities, a new $42 million initiative, will help cities use data to improve performance and policy.

In San Francisco, foodies seeking adventure (but not food poisoning) can see health inspection scores along with reviews while browsing for restaurants on Yelp. In Louisville, Kentucky, asthma patients can sign up for “smart inhalers” to help the city map where asthma attacks are most common, discover the triggers and shift policies for cleaner air. […]

Three Industries Being Changed by the Internet of Things

How IoT is helping these industries enhance their bottom lines while bringing about social and economic change.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most exciting prospects for today’s enterprises, as it has the potential to revolutionise everything from the way they operate and drive revenue to the types of goods, services and experiences they deliver. It is forcing businesses to rethink how they interact with the world around them […]

Urban Growing Pains

A look at selective city slowdowns and the city-suburb growth gap.

Newly released census statistics on cities through July 2014 allow us to make some firm observations about city demographic resurgence—depending on which cities we are talking about. On the one hand, big cities continue to grow considerably faster than in the previous decade and earlier, providing fuel to those who believe that increased city living […]

Can We Make Our Cities Smarter?

How one organization is helping cities develop solutions for their biggest challenges.

Cities are gaining momentum as incubators for innovation. There is much excitement about the idea of cities as “laboratories of democracy.” As a result, cities can learn best practices from one another. Sharing this information can build a strong foundation to amplify and encourage experimentation. Recognizing the power of shared learning, Bloomberg Philanthropies — in […]

The Changing Character of Urban Growth

How a massive increase in employment is radically transforming cities.

The world economy is picking up speed—Oxford Economics projects solid worldwide growth of 2.8% this year. But the character of tomorrow’s growth isn’t shaping up as in the past; much of it will be concentrated in the world’s cities, especially in Asia. By 2030, 410 million more people will be living in the world’s top […]

The Transportation of the Future

How rail enables economic, social and environmental sustainability.

When the Chinese New Year kicked off across China several weeks ago, millions of Chinese citizens hit the road in what is often described as one of the world’s great annual migrations. The pilgrimage allows families to reunite, and also gives the government a chance to show off its spectacular investments in high-speed bullet trains. […]

Three Ways India Can Fund Urban Development

How the Indian government can find new ways to attract private investment.

As the world hurtles towards reaching a two-thirds urban population by 2050, many eyes will be on India. That’s not because it has the second highest urban population in the world, but because, today, such a small proportion of its people live in cities. While the pace of urban growth places intense pressures on the […]

The Rise of Consumer Spending

A look at consumer spending across the world's top 750 cities.

Cities are becoming increasingly powerful centers of economic activity. As more young people move to cities – and the demand for sophisticated labor increases – more wealth will be concentrated in these urban areas. These changes are only expected to accelerate over the next decade. In fact, Oxford Economics’ Global Cities 2030 report forecasts that […]

Turning Down the Volume in Cities

How managing noise pollution can improve our cities.

This article first appeared on the Conversation and was republished with permission. We live in an increasingly noisy world. Since even low-level noise can affect quality of life, new tools to deal with noise are welcome. “Auralisation”, the audio equivalent of visualisation, is now helping to model and improve the sound of our living and […]