As the year ends, futurists are making predictions about what is coming next for the world. One of the most significant speculation areas, and indeed one aspect that most futurists agree upon, is that population growth will drive more urbanization, and cities will have to deal with more and more people.
Megacities, defined as cities with more than 10 million people, only exist in ten places in the world currently, but it is projected that by 2030 that number will increase to 41. By comparison, Tokyo’s population, the world’s largest megacity at more than 37 million, has more people than Canada’s entire country. And it’s expected that most up-and-coming megacities are going to be in developing countries with high population growth, including Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kinshasa (D.R. Congo), Manila (Philippines) and Madras (India).
Michael Spence, a Nobel Prize winner for Economic Sciences, believes that while there is a current reaction to COVID-19 motivating city dwellers to leave the more densely populated city centers and move to smaller cities or suburbs, that trend will not last long. He states that the notion that COVID-19 spread so rapidly in New York City because of its density has been debunked by scientists who have proven that the disease can spread just as quickly in more relaxed environments. In the long run, Spence says, “multifunctional buildings and mixed-use neighborhoods might be the face of necessary territorial transformations as the world fights to produce responsive low-carbon cities. Simultaneously, companies, workers, policymakers, and citizens will test whether homeworking will endure as a feature of post-COVID-19 societies.”