Sustainable Urbanization: The Role of ICT in City Development

Executive summary

the-role-of-ict-in-city-developmentIncreasing urbanization and awareness of sustainability issues are setting off a wave of investments in revitalization of existing cities and development of new ones. However, given the scale of the challenge, simply throwing more money at the problem is not a solution — the world needs a new operating paradigm that provides for the needs of urban residents in an economically viable, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable way. Businesses and governments are starting to recognize the role of technology in meeting these objectives. City investments that include a large ICT (information and communications technology) component can enable the designing of smarter cities that offer a better quality of life for their residents while being more sustainable and cost efficient. It is not only the residents that stand to benefit from this trend; governments can meet their objectives faster and more cheaply, while ICT players find themselves at the cusp of a whole new market. If these stakeholders hope to play and win in this uncharted territory, they will need to adopt a new operating paradigm.

The urban century

This is the urban century — more people worldwide are living in urban areas than rural for the first time in recorded history. The urbanization trend picked up pace in the 20th century and has accelerated since. Whereas in 1950 only about 30 percent of the world’s population lived in cities, today the figure is more than 50 percent. By 2030, the United Nations expects more than 60 percent of the world’s population to live in cities. With the urban populations of Asia and Africa set to double between 2000 and 2030, going forward, this trend is expected to be dominated by developing economies. (Read More)

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