Future Megacities – Mass Urbanization & No Car Ownership

Saturday, December 4, 2010
By Paul Martin

Report calls for radical redesign of cities to cope with population growth

Megacities on the Move report says authorities must start planning their transport infrastructure now for a future when two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities

Alok Jha
Guardian.co.uk

Moving away from car ownership, using real-time traffic information to help plan journeys and having more virtual meetings will be vital to prevent the megacities of the future from becoming dysfunctional and unpleasant places to live, according to a study by the environmental think tank Forum for the Future.

The report argues that authorities must begin to plan now in order to create easier and more sustainable ways of accessing goods and services in the world’s ever-growing cities. Citizens must also be encouraged to change their behaviour to keep cities liveable.

By 2040, the world’s urban population is expected to have grown from 3.5bn to 5.6bn. The new report calls for a radical re-engineering of cities’ infrastructure to cope. “The future is going to look pretty urban … with more and more people shifting to cities to the point that, by 2040, we’re going to have two thirds of all the people in the world living in cities,” said Ivana Gazibara, senior strategic adviser at Forum for the Future and an author of the report, Megacities on the Move.

“If we go on with business as usual, what happens is unmanageable levels of congestion because personal car ownership has proliferated,” she said. “Cities could be a pretty nasty place to live for the two-thirds of the global population in the next 30 years if we don’t act on things like climate change mitigation and adaptation, smarter use of resources and sorting out big systemic things like urban mobility.”

The report looked at transport, but not just moving from A to B. “It’s about accessibility and productivity and interaction,” said Gazibara. “Those are things you can do through physical interaction but you don’t have to..”

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