With urbanisation increasing around the globe, and people moving from rural areas to cities with unprecedented speed, what does this mean for the future of the world’s cities? From 9 - 11 June, the New Cities Summit 2015 will be exploring answers to exactly that question, not just looking at the problems and challenges posed, but seeing this rapid development as a space for innovation and opportunity.
According to projections from the United Nations’ division of Economic and Social Affairs, the next thirty years will see the largest increase in the world’s urban population in human history, with an estimated 66 percent of the world’s population living in urban areas by the end of 2050, compared to merely 30 percent in 1950. As the globe continues to urbanise, issues of sustainability faced by society will increasingly come to be concentrated and reflected in our world’s cities.
So what is the future of these urban spaces? What issues and questions are we as a society being faced with? And what kind of answers can smart urban planning offer us? Now in its fourth year, the New Cities Summit is one of the largest international events looking at the future of urban spaces. Organised by the New Cities Foundation, and the City of Jakarta, the summit brings together leaders from diverse fields, including the worlds of technology, architecture, design and the arts, for a series of talks, keynote speeches, and special workshops. Speakers this year include the internationally-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind and Nobel Laureate and microfinance and microcredit pioneer, Muhammad Yunus.
One of the programme’s highlights is a discussion about urban water solutions, with a look at how to ensure reliable and affordable access to safe drinking water in a world where more people own a mobile phone than a flushing toilet, and water is more expensive in African slums than in North American cities. There’s also a workshop run in partnership with social entrepreneur network Ashoka that envisions cities as powerful laboratories for change, looking at the importance of empowering citizens in order to be able to reduce social inequality in 21st century cities. The programme also features a panel discussion about the situation in Jakarta, the site of the summit, and itself one of the world’s fastest growing cities, already facing challenges such as intense traffic congestion and devastating floods.
To find out more about the event, catch video highlights from last year’s summit and download an e-book that gives a summary of last year’s talks, visit the official website.