Urbanization | VOL. 12, ISSUE 72, May-June 2012

Urban sustainability and a changing climate

The world today is experiencing unprecedented urban population growth. The trend is more dominant but not limited to developing and under-developed countries. It is estimated that by the year 2030, three-quarter of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, and developing countries like India and China will host the largest of these cities. According to North Carolina State University, the year 2007 proved to be a landmark year witnessing this transition. The world population turned more urban than rural on 23 May, 2007 - indicating that the pace of urbanisation is more rapid than expected. At the same time, urbanisation - which is indeed the most prolonged impact of the industrial revolution, has now become the driving force inviting even more intensive economic growth, exerting greater pressure on already overexploited natural resources. What makes matters worse is that every city depends on an area over two hundred times its size for its sustenance and growth. Due to the availability of large number of amenities in an urban setting, the ecological footprint of individuals residing in developed megacities is usually more than those residing in developing and smaller towns and in rural areas. This fact is reflected in carbon footprints (CF) of individual cities. The CF of the city of London, for instance, is three times that of the city of Delhi. A high...

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