URBANIZATION, OPPORTUNITY, AND DEVELOPMENT
By Daniel F. Runde (Center for Strategic & International Studies)
Urban centers now account for more than half of the human population, marking the first time in history that rural population is in the minority. The absolute figures are astonishing: 3.7 billion people now live in cities, and this will double by 2050. Even more dramatic is the extent to which this urbanization is centered in the developing world, where nearly 99 percent of urbanization between now and 2050 will take place. This accelerated shift towards urban life has profound implications for energy consumption, food security, politics, and human progress. While some of this change will be positive, the conditions in a number of fast growing cities highlight the potential for destabilization and dislocation.