The Courier is coming to town
2014 was a watershed year for humanity: for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities. By current estimates, this will rise to seventy per cent by 2050. These cities of tomorrow will, in many ways, mirror their forbearers; from the early city-states of Mesopotamia, to the Italian cities of the Renaissance to the megacities of today – cities have historically advanced human development, serving as melting pots for people of diverse backgrounds to exchange and dialogue.
Yet the cities of today and tomorrow are also facing new, unprecedented challenges. Although occupying only two per cent of the world’s landmass, they consume sixty per cent of global energy, release seventy-five per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and produce seventy per cent of global waste. As cities expand, they threaten biodiversity, and place urban infrastructure and resources – from water to transport to electricity – under enormous strain, multiplying the impact of natural disasters and climate change. Unchecked development and mass tourism place cultural heritage sites and living heritage practices at risk. Rising inequality and migration – driven in many cases by conflict and disaster – make cities the focal points for new social cleavages, for exclusion and discrimination.
Given the magnitude of these challenges, cities across the globe have concluded that new ways of thinking, citizen engagement and, crucially, city-to-city cooperation, are the only paths forward.
Read our issues dedicated to various issues related to cities.
xxx, April-June 2019
Cities under stress, January 1991
Plural cities, March 1997
Streetscapes: impressions of city life, August 1989
The Urban explosion, March 1985