Urban populations are growing and around three out of every four of us will live in cities by 2050. Our new website, dedicated to urban development, also shows how rapidly-growing cities around the world could become better places to live. Visit www.futurecities.shell.com.
Which kind of city do you live in, which type suits your lifestyle and how might they evolve in future? Take our online quiz to discover which city is most suited to you, and compare hundreds of cities from around the world in detail.
“I suspect that one day historians will describe the 100 years to 2050 as the century of the city.”Jeremy Bentham, Head of Shell Scenarios
Understanding urban development
As cities grow, pressure on vital resources of energy, water and food increases. Across the world there are big differences in the way cities are built and run, how inhabitants move around and how they use energy. It is vital to understand more about these differences in order to make the right choices for building sustainable cities. Every city is unique, but some share similar traits. Cities can be grouped into six categories, according to research supported by Shell.
We analysed the six city types to better understand the changing world and help create scenarios about how individual cities could evolve and become more efficient. We also examined how cities have coped with major development challenges in the past.
For example, faced with high levels of poverty and unemployment in the 1960s, Singapore has since evolved into one of the world’s most prosperous cities through smart urban planning and investment in public transport.
We have identified several ways in which city leaders can help make the urbanisation process more sustainable. Effective planning to reduce the need to travel around cities, together with efficient public transport for when it is unavoidable, can make a big difference. Wider use of electric, hydrogen or natural gas-driven vehicles also makes a major contribution to sustainability, as does switching from coal- to gas-fired power generation.
More in energy and innovation
You may also be interested in
A forum aiming to spark new thinking and help build resilience in a world where vital resources face growing pressure.
Combining solar or wind energy with new, more affordable batteries could transform the way some of us use electricity at home.
See how China is taking action to reduce air pollution, using renewable energy and replacing coal-fired plants with cleaner gas-fired plants.