Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

United Nations, 2014

In today’s increasingly global and interconnected world, over half of the world’s population (54 per cent) now lives in urban areas, up from 30 per cent in 1950. The coming decades will bring further profound changes to the size and spatial distribution of the global population such that the world’s population in 2050 is projected to be 66 per cent urban. The global urban population is projected to grow by 2.5 billion urban dwellers between 2014 and 2050, with nearly 90 per cent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. Trends in urbanization are integrally linked to sustainable development. With good planning and governance, the increasing concentration of people in urban settlements can facilitate economic and social development, while also offering opportunities to mitigate the adverse impact of consumption and production on the environment. However, rapid and unplanned urban growth threatens sustainable development when the necessary infrastructure is not developed or when policies are not implemented to protect the environment and ensure that the benefits of city life are equitably shared.

This introductory chapter of the report is presented in three sections. The first section offers some context for the global urban transition with a discussion of its associations with other demographic and economic shifts, and the implications for sustainable development. The second section gives a brief description of the data and methods used to estimate and project the urban and rural populations and the populations of cities .The third section provides a roadmap for the chapters that comprise the remainder of this report.