Unlocking the power of cities for sustainable development
We see urbanisation as a powerful development tool. In fact, no country has ever reached middle income status without urbanising and today’s cities are strong engines of growth and job creation, accounting for some 85% of global GDP. Cities and urban areas are therefore key to global prosperity and we have an important window of opportunity to make it smarter, more productive, sustainable and inclusive.
The coming decades will see us accommodate some 2 billion new urban citizens. However, the vast majority of this rapid growth is expected to take place in developing countries where the skills, finance and institutions required to deliver sustainable urbanisation are already fundamentally constrained. This leads to unplanned and uncoordinated growth which places an enormous strain on infrastructure, services, the environment and societal structures.
Well planned and well managed urban development can deliver more growth and jobs, boosting productivity. Over the coming decade we estimate that US$78 trillion will be invested in urban infrastructure and it is exciting to see new business and governance models, technologies and planning approaches challenging and enhancing traditional city development approaches.
Governments and city leaders are challenged to resolve how to make sure that the growth generated by cities is sustainable and productive, with the benefits shared widely across society. How will they fund the required infrastructure that lays the foundations of a sustainable future?
With 55% of the world’s people already living in urban areas, and with 1.5 million people joining them each week, developing countries will need to accommodate two billion new urban citizens by 2050.
“For PwC, helping developing countries shape more sustainable patterns of urban development is critical to growth, stability and sustainability. By helping make every city a ‘City of Opportunity’ we will transform the potential of these nations and improve the lives of billions of people.”
PwC works alongside local and national governments, and often with the support or collaboration of a range of development partners around the world, to help address the challenges of rapid urbanisation. Operating across PwC’s global network, our multidisciplinary Cities & Urbanisation team have worked at the leading edge of these issues in over 20 countries and are now able to bring PwC’s full range of professional service capabilities to make every city a City of Opportunity.
Dan Dowling believes we need to embrace the idea that cities can be a silver bullet for many of the world’s biggest problems
We outline why rapid urbanisation can be a positive indicator of growth and how we can help based on our global experience.