One of the most significant trends we will all need to manage globally is the increasing urbanization of the world. In vast droves, especially in the developing world, people are showing up in cities, looking for work, food, water, opportunity. Here’s a chart from the UN:
There is additional information and data from the UN here.
The dangers of urbanization are difficult to fully define or quantify, except to say that we will not only have challenges with overpopulation but also with overcrowding in urban areas. In an automated and socio-economically dichotomous future, the opportunity promise of the cities may lead to increased homelessness, squatting, spontaneous shanty towns. In short, challenging, squalid and inhumane conditions. Governments may also find it difficult to provide services and protection to rural communities because of more pressing, more accessible urban issues.
But people suffer in this situation. I am reminded of the lament in Bob Marley’s Concrete Jungle (one of my favorite of his songs):
There is a tremendous opportunity for architects, entrepreneurs and governments worldwide to tackle either or both of the horns of this dilemma: to develop fulfilling and viable rural communities and/or develop urban environments that accommodate and provide for larger populations.