Getting Ahead of Tomorrow's Mega Cities
A European institute in Singapore wants to help ease the world's transition toward massively populated urban centers. Of the 8.1 billion people on Earth by 2030, 5 billion will live in cities.
What's the Latest Development?
A European laboratory in Singapore may be the world's most advanced center for studying, as well as shaping, the future of cities. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology promotes technologies new and old, from bamboo, which can be weatherized to cope with growth in the world's most booming cities, to small flying robots that capture detailed maps of Singapore's streets. And of course, large-scale data analysis is looking to improve the efficiency of everything from controlling rainwater runoff to utilities to public transportation.
What's the Big Idea?
Gerhard Schmitt, director of the Swiss Institute, believes his primary purpose is to help ease the transition to a world dominated by massive urban centers. "According to the United Nations, the world's population will top 8.1 billion by 2030. More than half of those people—roughly 5 billion—will live in cities. 'I think the importance of these statistics are underestimated: we are talking about the biggest urban growth in history,' says Stephen Cairns, the Institute’s scientific coordinator." Mexico City, Shenzhen and Lagos are expected to become some of tomorrow's 'mega-regions'.
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