The city of the future is facing major social challenges. Demographic change, the pluralization of cultures and lifestyles, and a growing social inequality manifested through spatial fragmentation are transforming urban society. This is of particular importance when one considers that half of the world’s 7 billion people live in an urban environment. By 2050, when the world’s population is predicted to peak at 9 billion, it’s expected that 75 percent of all humans will live in cities. Already today, cities such as Lagos, Delhi and Dhaka are growing by over 300,000 people a year. In addition to having a profound impact on the planet’s ecological balance, the form that this new wave of urban construction takes will shape the human conditions for billions of people growing up and growing old in cities.
Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies, and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. His research interests focus on the interactions between the physical and social worlds in the contemporary city and how urbanisation affects social and environmental sustainability.