Rapid Urbanization and Cities of the Future

1 Rapid Urbanization and Cities of the Future

Across the globe, we are seeing rapid urbanization which has long-term impacts on cities and its residents.  Throughout the semester, we have discussed many of the impacts and I’ve tried to include examples of ways people are combatting these challenges. In this final module, I want to share several other interesting solutions.  


  1. Think about solutions to urban challenges


Rapid Urbanization


One of the main challenges of rapid urbanization is the strain it puts on infrastructure. As more people move into urban areas, there is an increased demand for housing, transportation, and utilities. This can lead to overcrowding, traffic congestion, and overburdened public services such as water and waste management systems. Without proper planning and investment, these issues can have negative impacts on the quality of life for urban residents.

Another challenge of rapid urbanization is the loss of green spaces and natural habitats. As cities expand, they often encroach on surrounding natural areas, leading to deforestation, habitat destruction, and loss of biodiversity. This can have long-term environmental consequences, including increased air pollution, soil erosion, and climate change.

Rapid urbanization can also exacerbate social and economic inequalities. As urban areas become more crowded and expensive, low-income residents may be forced to live in substandard housing or commute long distances to work. This can lead to social isolation, reduced access to services, and increased poverty. Additionally, rapid urbanization can lead to the displacement of indigenous communities and other marginalized groups, further exacerbating inequalities.

Finally, rapid urbanization can pose significant challenges to public health. As cities become more crowded, there is an increased risk of disease outbreaks and the spread of infectious diseases. Additionally, air pollution, noise pollution, and other environmental factors can have negative impacts on the health and well-being of urban residents. Without proper planning and investment in public health infrastructure, these issues can have serious consequences for urban populations. https://www.youtube.com/embed/1z-D3nkfrkM


Affordable Housing

Vienna’s Social Housing https://www.youtube.com/embed/41VJudBdYXY



Mexico City has been expanding their bike paths, including one of the world’s largest bike share programs and large road closures (for cars) on Sunday morning to open up the boulevards for bikes and pedestrians.  Read Mexico City Is Becoming A Cycling Capital (2020) https://www.youtube.com/embed/OFSdjDptIgI

People-first designs

Paris is not only banning cars from the central city, but also creating 100s of miles of bike lanes.  Read more at In Paris, a new ‘quiet zone’ will ban through-traffic in the city center https://www.youtube.com/embed/GSQSBoHmG8s

Economic Development 

The Stitch is a transformational civic infrastructure investment needed to reconnect Downtown and Midtown Atlanta. Once implemented, the Stitch will create approximately 14 acres of urban greenspace and transportation enhancements atop a new, 3⁄4-mile platform spanning the Downtown Connector between Ted Turner Drive Piedmont Avenue.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/TGJQ-4ht1DU


Equitable Development

Inclusive Economies

The Global Growers Network create agricultural economic opportunities for refugees in Atlanta.   https://www.youtube.com/embed/lqarhchA9NU

Community Land Trusts

In 2008 South Baltimore’s 21226 zip code registered the highest quantity of toxic air emissions from stationary sources in the nation. In 2009, the proposal to build the largest trash burning incinerator in US history less than a mile from two schools in Curtis Bay was green-lit by state and local officials. The South Baltimore Community Land Trust (SBCLT) was established through over a decade of research, reflection and action initiated by high school students and residents in South Baltimore. The aim of SBCLT is to facilitate the implementation of a new vision for community owned Development without Displacement and Zero Waste in Baltimore.


Greening the City

Conversion of a highway in Seoul to restore the Cheonggyecheon River https://www.youtube.com/embed/XjkqB7oC4xE


Urban Farming

There is an incredible urban farming community here in Atlanta including Patchwork Farms, Gilliam’s Mobile Farmer’s Market, and Truly Living Well.   https://www.youtube.com/embed/QJbcaRG35S4

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