UN estimates show human population growing from 7 billion today to 9 billion by 2050, translating into some 1 million more people expected on average each week for the next 38 years, with most of that increase anticipated in urban centres. And ongoing migration from rural to urban living could see world cities receive yet an-other 1 billion additional people. Total forecast urban population in 2050: 6.3 billion (up from 3.5 billion today).
During 2005-2030, the world’s urban population will grow at an average annual rate of 1.8 per cent, nearly double the rate expected for the total population of the world (1 per cent per year). At that rate of growth, the world’s urban population will double in 38 years.
“Our focus should be on enhancing the quality of urbanization – from urban space, infrastructure, form and function, to lifestyle, energy choices and efficiency,” says Dr. Dhakal.
Care is needed, he adds, to avoid unwelcome potential problems of dense urbanization, including congestion, pollution, crime, the rapid spread of infectious disease and other societal problems – the focus of social and health scientists who will feature prominently at the conference.