Part 4. Building Sustainable Urban Systems for the Future

Conceptual Understanding:

Key Question:

What are the future possibilities for the sustainable management of urban systems​?

Key Content:

  1. Urban growth projections for 2050, including regional/continental patterns and trends of rural–urban migration and changing urban population sizes and structures.​
  2. Resilient city design, including strategies to manage escalating climatic and geopolitical risks to urban areas.
    Two detailed examples to illustrate possible strategies
  3. Eco city design, including strategies to manage the urban ecological footprint.
    Two detailed examples to illustrate possible environmental strategies
  4. Smart city design and the use of new technology to run city services and systems, including purpose-built settlements and retrofitting technology to older settlements.

Thursday 26 April 2023

Urban Growth Projections for 2050…

Starter: Just for fun – Back to the future! 

Take a look at the images below from the 1950’s. How many of these predications have become a reality? 

Task 1. Watch the video below that shows the likely top 20 most populated urban areas on Earth in 2050. 

Make a list of the countries that are predicted to have had over a 100% increase in population growth by 2050. 

Task 2. Open the PDF below which shows the 2018 United Nations World Urbanization Prospects Highlights. Summarise the data into 7 pieces of crucial and need to know data that predict life in 2050. 

Task 3. Using this map, drag the time slider back to your year of birth and take a screen grab. Do this for this year (2023) and for 2050. ​
Copy the three maps into a Google Doc and make detailed notes on the urban growth changes between your year of birth and 2050. Refer to regional/continental patterns.

Projected Urban Shares to 2050

The past 50 years in particular have seen a rapid increase in rates of urbanization across the world. Are these trends likely to continue?

The UN World Urbanization Prospects provides estimates of urban shares across the world through to 2050. These projections are shown in this chart — using the timeline you can watch this change over time.

Across all countries urban shares are projected to increase in the coming decades, although at varied rates. By 2050, it’s projected that 68 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas (an increase from 54 percent in 2016). In fact, by 2050 there are very few countries where rural shares are expected to be higher than urban. These include several across Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Pacific Island States, and Guyana in Latin America.

Why, when most countries are expected to be majority urban, does the global total just over two-thirds? This seems low, but results from the fact that many of the world’s most populated countries have comparably low urban shares (either just over half, or less). For example, India (expected to be the world’s most populous country), is projected to have an urban share of only 53 percent in 2050.

Trends in overall population data

  1. Rural To Urban Migration

Click on the image below. This cartogram shows how the distribution of rural populations compares in absolute and relative terms. The large, main map shows the countries of the world resized according to the total number of each’s rural population as of 2016. The varying green shades show the proportion of a country’s total population that live in a rural area (see key, bottom left). 

Task 5. Using this link to the excellent WorldMapper site, take notes on future trends in rural to urban migration as well as the reasons for this. Note links to megacities and migration in the Perspectives section. 

2. Changing Urban Population Sizes

Task 6. Watch the World Population video below. Watch the full video but take two screen shots from both 1950 and 2050. 

Click on this link from Wikipedia and study the league table showing urban growth in the largest cities from 1950 and 2050. Pick out key cities and note down the associated data.  How does the ranking change between now and 2050 and then by 2075? 

Construct a piece of writing where you comment on the patterns and changes shown and link to what you have already learned. 

3. Changing Population Structures

Task 7. Watch the ‘Changing Population’ below and take notes on the major ways in which the future population will change and the challenges that this will bring to different places around the World. 

Task 8. Click this link and take further notes on the ‘Demographic Dividend’ and how it can be linked to improvements in human development, gender equality etc.  

Tuesday 02 May 2023

Resilient Cities… 

As we have seen, major cities experience a number of stressed relating to population growth, resource use (water, energy, food), crime, waste disposal and natural hazards. As such and in recent years, cities have had to come up with a plan to be more resilient in the face of adversity. 

Task 1. Click here to read a Guardian article about Resilient Cities. Make notes on the concept of a resilient city as well as terms such as ‘magnet’ and ‘bombs’. We are going to be using New York as our focus for both case studies in this section. We are going to be using the OneNYC initiative and two of its goals that aim to be resilient in the face of geopolitical and climate change challenges. 

NEW YORK CITY’S POPULATION IS AT A RECORD HIGH AND IS PROJECTED TO SURPASS 9 MILLION BY 2050, as New York continues to be a magnet for people searching for opportunity. This is true across the metropolitan region as well: The current regional population of 23 million is expected to swell to over 26 million by 2050.

Part 1. Climate Change Resilience

Task 2. Create a ‘detailed example’ fact sheet using the PDF resource and the videos above. The PDF is a hefty 20 page document. Please follow the instructions below to minimise the time taken to extract the information. 

1. Read page 5 and make a note of the first two indicators. 
2. Make notes on the ‘Context’ section of the document on page 6 and link to the relevant SDG’s. 
3. In the ‘Progress’ section on page 6 & 7, make notes on how NYC aims to help limit global temperatures to 1.5°C. 
4. Take a note of the ‘Chronic Hazard’ headline figures for the year 2050 (you might want to convert °F to °C and inches to MM). 
5. Read page 11 & 12 and outline how NYC aims to become carbon neutral. 

6. Now split the following task between you.  Each person should now make a 100 word summary including one key graphic of one of the following ways that NYC hopes to become carbon neutral. 

Method 1 – Ensure 100% Clean Electricity Resources (page 13-14)
Method 2 – Promote sustainable transport options (page 17)
Method 3 – Adopt Zero management waste strategies citywide (page 18-20)

Part 2. Geopolitical Resilience

We are going to be focusing on another OneNYC initiative called ‘A Vibrant Democracy’ with a particular focus on the integration of immigrants into the city (Initiative 2 of 30 – Welcome New Yorkers from Around the World and Involve them Fully in Civil Life).

More than one in three New Yorkers is foreign born, and nearly one in five is a noncitizen.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey​

Please now access the document below.

1. Read page 5 and make a note of the indicators. 
2. Make notes on the ‘Context’ section of the document on page 6 and link to the relevant SDG’s. 
3. In the ‘Progress’ section on page 7, make notes on how NYC aims to help social cohesion. 

4. Now split the following task between you.  Each person should now make a 100 word summary including one key graphic of one of the following ways that NYC hopes to address its settling of immigrants issue (page 18 onward). 

Method 1 – Expand the reach of IDNYC (page 18-19)
Method 2 – Raise naturalization rates through targeted outreach & assistance (page 19-20)
Method 3 – Protect and provide resources to support new and undocumented New Yorkers (page 20-21)

Thursday 04 May 2023

Eco Cities and Smart Cities

In many cases, cities have overgrown their capabilities and so the focus now is on becoming more environmentally friendly.In many countries, one or two major urban centers are major contributors to the national Ecological Footprint and also run significantly higher per capita Footprints than the average for their nations. Comparing city and national Footprints and biocapacity can thus shed more light on potential leverage points for improving sustainability. A report by The Global Footprint Network recently found that the resource demands of citizens in Athens exceeds the biocapacity of all of Greece.It is impossible to find a completely eco friendly city today but we will be focusing on two schemes put into place by two cities that aim to reduce their environmental impact, as well as another city which is trying to become a smart city.  

Case Study 1. Masdar, UAE [David]

Complete this worksheet above by using the resources in this section.

The Guardian Article

NY Times Article

Case Study 2: Stockholm, Sweden & Waste Management [Hannah]

Complete this worksheet by using the resources in this section.

TRT World Article

The Local Article

Case Study 3: Songdo, South Korea – A Smart City [Julia]

Complete this worksheet by using the resources in this section.

OpenLearn (watch the video on this website)

The BBC Podcast

Exam Question: Answer one of the questions below using the examples from today’s lesson.

  1. Evaluate two or more strategies designed to improve the sustainability of cities. [10]
  2. Eco-cities offer excellent opportunities and few drawbacks for High Income Countries. Discuss this statement. [10]