Global urbanization trend - Cities changing as they head into the future

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DERECO Impuls 5

All around the world, people are pushing their way into cities.

More than half of the world’s population live in large cities, tendency rising. Modern cities are places of nostalgia associated with a better quality of life and a higher standard of living, good housing, varied education and career development opportunities. Complex urban structures can foster social interaction and cultural development. They’re a breeding ground for innovative, creative, forward-looking transformation.

Whereas the population of Germany and the entire western world has been decreasing, the total global population is predicted to grow by a third by 2050 according to UN data. As a result, society and policy-makers, urban planners and architects are facing major challenges. The need for accommodation is expected to rise drastically, even in Europe. New residential concepts, power supply, mobility, environmental compatibility and climate change initiatives necessitate disruptive new solutions.

Options for the future

Urbanisation depends on industrialisation and economic growth. Structures in Europe and the US are already highly developed, while the urbanisation rate is stagnating – in Germany, for example, it currently amounts to approx. 75%. Accordingly, western countries primarily need to adapt to new challenges and improve, modernise and/or densify urban structures.

In emerging and developing countries, however, cities have been growing extremely rapidly. Multi-million cities have sprung up so fast that infrastructure development has barely managed to keep up. The same applies to ecological and economic progress. Therefore, it is indispensable to spark additional economic growth to enhance people’s quality of life and to ensure social stability. Digitisation, modern mobility concepts, renewable energies and innovative building techniques provide key concepts and investment opportunities for the future of a continuously growing population on our planet.

Renewal of structures in western countries

A sustainable update of cities and regions in the west chiefly depends on quality of life, cultural strength and how development potential is leveraged.
In the recent past, urban neighbourhoods were simply “extended.” Rows of houses lining the streets were demolished and rebuilt. This contrasts with today’s trend of maintaining the historic fabric for generations to come and adding extensions to buildings in a creative way. In this day and age, urban development is synonymous with converting structures, filling voids in the urban fabric and turning factory sites or docks into attractive housing and offices.