With the fastest-growing urban population in the world, rising by 29% over the past two decades, Asia is facing a unique urban challenge.
By 2050, urban areas will account for about 65% of Asia’s total population, which itself is expected to almost double to 3.3 billion people.
While this presents opportunities for higher productivity and better living standards, there are risks: 523 million Asians already live in squalid urban slums with poor services; severe living condition disparities in many cities undermine social cohesion; and urban buildings and transport account for significant energy consumption and carbon emissions.
We need more integrated urban planning, focusing on managing urban sprawl, and providing sustainable and affordable infrastructure and basic services.
The overall quality and efficiency of Asian cities will determine the region’s long-term productivity and stability.