On The Atlantic Cities blog, Richard Florida lays out 11 reasons for putting cities at the center of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
1) Because we are an urban planet. Sixty years ago, just 30 percent of the world lived in cities. Today more than 50 percent do, and roughly 70 percent of the world’s economic activity is urban. More importantly, the pace of urbanization is accelerating. Cities are adding population at a rate of 60 million people per year. By 2050, 6.4 billion people—the equivalent of the entire population of the world today—will live in cities, according to World Health Organization projections. And, as Paul Romer and Brandon Fuller of NYU’s Marron Institute have predicted, by 2110, if current trends hold, their numbers could swell to nine billion.2) Because billions of new urbanites will need to forge a path to opportunity and a better way of life. In the next century, 5.2 billion of these new urban residents, accounting for nearly all of this city population boom, will live in regions of the world that are currently less developed, according to Fuller and Romer. More than 600 new cities with populations of ten million each would need to be built over the course of the coming century to accommodate this growth, they explain. The manner in which they expand cannot be haphazard. Doing it right will ensure greater opportunity and living standards for the world’s new urbanites.