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Symposium 2015

Virtual Library File - Building Sustainable Cities

The Challenge

By 2050 the number of people living in cities will reach 6 billion. Existing cities will not be able to accommodate an estimated 2 billion people who will migrate from the countryside to urban centers ...

By 2050 the number of people living in cities will reach 6 billion. Existing cities will not be able to accommodate an estimated 2 billion people who will migrate from the countryside to urban centers seeking employment, education, and a better living standard. How to build the next 500 sustainable cities created by this rampant urbanization is among the greatest challenges of this century and it also represent one of the greatest opportunity to address a multitude of issues related to the environment, economic development, social advancement, medical infrastructure, and education.

There are many different business strategies for addressing the challenges posed by rapid urbanization and scarce resources. Often they center on expanding supply—providing more water, more electricity, more roads, more vehicles. But increasingly businesses are discovering how to create and claim value by improving resource efficiency—through energy-performance contracting, for example, and other strategies that overcome business barriers, reduce waste, and stretch resources. The framework rests on three pillars: new business models that generate profits by optimizing the use of resources; financial engineering that encourages investments in efficiency and careful selection of markets. Although any given company’s approach will depend on its capabilities and objectives and the market it is entering, the broad strategies provided here are relevant both to obvious players such as infrastructure companies and vendors of turbines, trains, and other equipment, and to companies in larger sectors such as information technology, financial services, and building products. Whatever the industry, strategic investments in resource efficiency as cities are being built or rebuilt can generate value for companies over the long term while enhancing the cities’ competitiveness, livability, and environmental performance.