Burgeoning Cities Face Catastrophe

December 5, 2007 • Daily Email Recap

Humanity will make the historic transition from a rural to an urban species some time in the next year, according to the latest UN population figures. The shift will be led by Africa and Asia, which are expected to add 1.6 billion people to their cities over the next 25 years.

The speed and scale of inevitable global urbanisation is so great most countries will not be remotely prepared for the impact it will have, Thoraya Obaid, executive director of the UN Population Fund, says. “In human history we have never seen urban growth like this. It is unprecedented.”

Ms Obaid added: “In 2008, half of the world’s population will be in urban areas. The shift from rural to urban changes a balance that has lasted for millennia. Within one generation, five billion people, or 60% of humanity, will live in cities. The urban population of Africa and Asia is set to double in this time.” She said that each week the numbers living in cities grew by nearly a million.

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