Urbanization as Opportunity
Humans are engaged in the urbanization project. It began with the advent of settled agriculture some 10,000 years ago, and it will end in the lifetimes of today’s children. At the moment, we’re halfway there. In 2010, with roughly 3.5 billion people living in cities, the urban share of the world’s population exceeded 50 percent for the first time. By 2100, the global population is likely to stabilize around 10 to 11 billion people, at which point as much as 90 percent of humanity will be living in urban areas.
The 21st century will see more urbanization than in all of human history to date. Nearly all of it will occur in the developing world, where urbanization has the potential to reduce poverty and enhance development. Never before have urban areas, and the policy choices therein, been more important.
Founded by Paul Romer in 2012, the NYU Stern Urbanization Project seeks to harness the growth of cities to speed up global progress. It does so through two initiatives: Urban Expansion and Charter Cities.