The Role of Cities in Determining the World’s Future Conference
Urbanisation is a central trend of our time. Today, cities account for more than half of the global population, for 80% of global GDP and 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, and we will witness a rapid increase of those figures in the coming decades. Key challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, and social inequality have particularly critical consequences for cities.
There is a growing consensus that key decisions on reducing the carbon footprint and addressing social inequalities will be decided by and in cities. As urbanisation is most rapidly proceeding in the Global South, cities have come into the focus of global development agendas, such as the Agenda 2030 or the UN New Urban Agenda. Cities of the Global South provide experimental spaces for new development policies and financial instruments, and they allow implementation of a range of new technologies, such as digital money, big data and artificial intelligence within smart city strategies. Yet, cities also assume responsibility as political actors and seek to build networks to influence global policy-making such as C40, which connects mayors, and policy-makers of the world’s leading cities.
This public lecture will analyse these developments and their drivers, and assess opportunities and risks for sustainable development, equity, and democracy.
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