Promises and concerns of the urban century: Increasing agency and contested empowerment

Jeroen van der Heijden, Harriet Bulkeley, Chiara Certoma

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Stressing the relevance of urbanization in social, economic, and environmental developments, the twenty-first century is frequently referred to as ‘the first urban century’ or simply ‘the urban century’ (Gilbert et al. Reference Gilbert, Stevenson, Girardet and Stren2009; Hall & Pfeiffer, Reference Hall and Pfeiffer2013; Heynen, Reference Heynen2014; Nijkamp & Kourtit, Reference Nijkamp and Kourtit2013). The numbers speak for themselves: as of 2008 the world’s urban population was larger than the world’s rural population. By 2050, some 6 billion people are expected to live in cities and urban areas – twice as many as in 2000. Most rapid urbanization will take place in Asia and Africa, where urban populations are expected to grow from around 30 per cent at the start of the century to more than 50 per cent by mid-century (UN-HABITAT, 2016). Already more than 70 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) is generated in cities, and with increasing urbanization cities will become even more dominant in the world economy (McKinsey Global Institute, 2011; World Bank, 2009b). Some 70 per cent of global resources are consumed in cities (including energy and potable water) and they account for 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – mainly as a result of the high consumerist lifestyle that characterizes modern urban life (Dodman, Reference Dodman2009; UN, 2016).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationUrban climate politics: Agency and empowerment
    Editors Jeroen van der Heijden, Harriet Bulkeley, Chiara Certomà
    Place of PublicationCambridge
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    ISBN (Print)9781108632157
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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