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Symposium 2015

Virtual Library File - Making a Big Impact in a Big Hurry: Finance and Technology in 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.

Rapid growth in emerging economies means that right now, today, these nations are putting down the roads, bridges, water systems, power grids, and buildings that will determine their use of carbon, water, and commuting time (and fuel) for decades. There is tremendous impact in investing in sustainability in the built environment – and in connected technologies – particularly in emerging markets. Interventions in water, electricity, and transit have the most investment leverage, for several reasons. First, they involve tangible assets which can be built and financed at large scale. Second, if families and businesses have water, electricity, and a way to get to work and to move goods, they can build on that foundation. Without water, electricity, and transit, none of the other smart urbanization interventions are possible. And finally, since these are physical goods, their use can be optimized and coordinated at very large scale.