2 min reading time
Story 130 – 2050 – Innovation Megatrends Products

Megacities – urban hotspots

The growth of the megacities cannot be slowed down

By 2020, half of the world's population already lived in cities – by 2050 this figure has risen to over 75 percent. The largest influx into urban centres took place in Asia, Africa and Latin America. What innovations were necessary to conceptually develop these megacities and make them more livable?

When P.J. Wieland was born, only around 3% of the world's population lived in cities. Over 200 years later it was 50 %, and today, in 2050, over 75 % of the world's population live in cities, megacities and urban cluster areas. While the population of the megacities in the industrial nations rose only slowly, especially large cities such as Kinshasa, Tehran and Lahore grew enormously fast and caught up with the other megacities.

Megacities, these urban concentrations with their high density of people, are an efficient way for new technologies and innovations. Digital networking is at its highest here, as is cultural and scientific exchange, which results in enormous creative diversity. But only a completely new overall urban planning and infrastructure logic made it possible to optimize and fundamentally change supply structures after 2030. Due to the growth of a megacity, satellite cities are merging into it, and urban cluster areas – independent centres in the centre – are emerging. At the same time, supply routes are being expanded and emissions in the megacity are being reduced through innovations such as vertical farming, combined with facade greening systems and the switch to combustion-free mobility. Billions of sensors monitor climate conditions, air emissions, traffic density and much more to keep our urban environment in balance. In addition, the inhabitants of large cities benefit from a highly developed health system. The advantage: high density, short distances.

Added to this is the tenfold increase in cruising speed, which is particularly possible between megacities. As a result, they are growing even closer together. Although rural areas are still inhabited, vertical farming means that the cultivation of large monocultures, as was the case in 2025, is no longer so important. Many areas could thus be returned to nature.

If one draws a picture of the megacities in 50 years, i.e. 2100, human geography will become a completely unknown subject for us. Of the twenty largest megacities, 13 alone will be in Africa.