By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, up from about 54 percent today – adding over 1 billion people to cities over the next 15 years. Over the next two decades, nearly all of the world’s net population growth is expected to occur in urban areas, with about 1.4 million people – close to the population of Stockholm – added each week.
Urbanisation is a crucial driver of economic growth. In fact, no country has ever climbed from low-income to middle-income status without a significant population shift into cities. Urbanisation also poses a series of challenges, however, to inclusiveness, the environment, economic efficiency, health and cultural heritage. For example, by 2025, one-third of the urban population (or 440 million urban households) could lack access to affordable housing. Cities are also responsible for around 70 percent of global energy use and energy-related GHG emissions. Congestion is already close to unbearable in many cities and can cost as much as 5 percent of national GDP (according to the Asian Development Bank), by measures such as lost time, wasted fuel, and increased cost of doing business. There are also significant health concerns related to air pollution and the rise of non-communicable diseases such as obesity due to change in diets and lack of exercise.
AlphaBeta works with governments, corporations and investors on understanding and responding to the challenges of urbanisation. We work with governments on developing sustainable urbanisation models and supporting infrastructure development; we work with investors on understanding city-level opportunities, including affordable housing and energy efficiency; and we work with corporates on identifying emerging pockets of consumer demand using satellite data and big data economic tools.