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Resilience and urbanisation
Urbanisation will be one of the most significant dynamics affecting the future. By mid-century, most of the world’s population will live in urban environments. According to the United Nations’ Habitat group, the world could build the equivalent of one new city of nearly 1.5 million people every week for the next 40 years. The modern city is under pressure and being tested in ways that have never been seen before.
Rotterdam is a perfect backdrop for a Powering Progress Together event. As a low-lying delta city and almost entirely destroyed during World War II, the city has overcome adversity and now is one of the world’s largest ports, a main trading and distribution centre,, a refinery and petrochemicals centre, and a hub for water knowledge, urban farming and climate change expertise. Effective urban planning s is vital to easing global demand for energy, water and food tackling rising CO2 emissions and pollution.
Globally, rising population and increased prosperity will drive up energy demand. Separate point-pressure on vital resources of energy, water and food will be greatest in cities where demand for these vital resources will be most intense. Greenhouse gas emissions, for example, will be pushed up through increased energy production and the power and transport fuel needed to produce and deliver food and treat water.
At the same time, cities are vulnerable to shocks originating from within. Building greater resilience in city planning and management systems and the delivery of services will be essential to the future well-being and prosperity of people residing in urban environments. Intelligent urban planning could trigger the transformation of the global transport system, by providing the infrastructure for a cleaner car fleet powered by electricity, hydrogen and natural gas.
Why is Shell interested in resilience thinking and urbanisation?
Natural and man-made shocks and stresses will continue to challenge the world’s major cities. But should it only be up to cities to find ways to make cities more resilient? Shell believes these types of strategies require an integrated approach: cross-sector, public-private, and interregional collaboration.
Shell’s 100-year history shows that it has remained resilient to the changing world. Now, as we look ahead to the next decade, we see potential risks to our business as well as opportunities: from the threat to our most important refineries in low-lying coastal areas to the development of new energy solutions.
The Shell Scenarios team, has worked with the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore on a research around city archetypes and how these develop. A “New Lens on Cities” is a supplement to the recent Scenario booklet and presents possible solutions for better urban planning.