Future of Cities – Surge in Emerging Markets

Jay Owen Sustainability News, Trendspotting

We at Ethical Markets are wary of too much reliance on algorithms , unless frequently monitored and updated by  humans !  For example, the takeover of Wall Street by algorithms and high-frequency trading led to  the recent “ flash crashes” . Such  future events are  predicted by me and others  to  be global and already “ baked in”  unless these algorithms are unpacked and re-programmed  !  Hazel Henderson, Editor

Shaping Tomorrow Website


Future of Cities – Surge in Emerging Markets

23 September 2014

This is the second in a new type of Trend Alert almost entirely generated by our artificial intelligence algorithms. Please add comments below the Alert with your views on how you are finding it and suggestions for improvement. We are grateful to Jeff LaFrenz, Zulfana Bagum, Dan Abelow and Iwona Roslonek for their suggestions from last week: all now implemented.

What is changing?


  • Standard population projections show that virtually all global growth over the next 30 years will be in urban areas.
  • 70% of people will live in cities by 2050.
  • By mid-century almost 60 per cent of Africa’s population will live in cities.


  • There will be about 40 smart cities globally by 2025.
  • Urban growth will not be primarily in the major cities
  • By 2025 no less than 45% of businesses on Fortune ‘s Global 500 list of the world’s biggest companies will be based in emerging markets.
  • There will be 60 megacities-more than double the current number of urban behemoths-where GDP will exceed $250 billion.
  • About 440 emerging market cities will provide 47 per cent of expected global GDP growth between 2010 and 2025 amid a wave of urbanisation in developing countries.
  • Tier 1 cities in the coastal provinces will be characterized by much lower growth rates, replacement demand, and rising price points.
  • Many of today’s tier 1 cities will evolve into mega demand centres.
  • Nearly 40 percent of ASEAN’s GDP growth through 2025 is expected to come from 142 cities with populations between 200,000 and 5 million.
  • Some city planners expect that the cost of homes will fall as more space will become available in cities.
  • Driverless cars will generate a gradual but dramatic expansion of cities.


  • There will be more EV drivers in Hangzhou than anywhere in the world and other Chinese cities will almost certainly adopt the technology quickly.
  • Drone networks will be more likely to find success in congested rich cities.


  • ‘Green’ will be replaced with ‘Smart’ concepts that bring together smart cities, products and technologies.



  • Over the coming decades the predicted surge in urban population will create many challenges for decision-makers around the world.
  • Cities will need to develop and implement the infrastructure needed for supporting the most efficient modal choices.
  • Smart cities will only become a reality when local authority visions for the future are reflected in procurement practises and scoring criteria for contracts issued today.
  • Smart cities in 2020 will require real time auto identification security systems.
  • Network grids that control traffic lights, railroad crossings and toll bridges could become prime targets for terrorists or hackers looking to extort money from governments or individuals.


  • Urbanization as a trend will have diverging impacts and influences on future personal lives and mobility.
  • The rise in the world’s consumer classes carries challenges and that rising wealth could put further upward pressure on the global investment rate and resource prices.
  • Smart cities could be cross-classified by strategies, scales, motivations (social, economic or ecological).


  • Significantly reducing urban road congestion and improving the financial and environmental sustainability of urban transport will bring major benefits for the economy.
  • Investment in all cost effective measures will save billions in energy costs per year.
  • Cities could be a valuable new source of investment which would help maximise the benefits to the UK from generation subsidies.
  • Delivering the goods and services cities need in a resource constrained world is going to present significant challenges.
  • Worldwide revenue from communication nodes for smart cities will grow from $2 billion in 2014 to $3.55 billion in 2020.

Learn more
To find more resources on Shaping Tomorrow about the future of cities some of which were used in this Trend Alert. View Cities report.
Also, click here to find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.

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