Drivers of change in 2019

This article is part of a series of articles on drivers of change in 2019. Read more.

We built this city

The Mesopotamian site of Eridu, discovered by archaeologists in 1855, is believed to be the world’s first city, founded in 5000 BC. Ever since, people have flocked in ever-growing numbers to cities, drawn together by dreams of a better life in close proximity to other people. According to Jane Jacobs, the renowned urban activist, this proximity is what enables cities to enhance human networks, resulting in social and economic benefits. According to the World Health Organisation 54% of the world’s population now live in cities, estimated to grow to 68% by 2050.

A city is a network

People choose to live in cities because this is where they can benefit most by exchanging ideas, goods, fashion, beliefs, knowledge and anything else they see fit. This network is composed of people and things that help them to inter-connect. The visible elements of this network include streets, railways, bus routes, ATM machines and phone, internet, water, gas and electricity lines; while the invisible elements include wireless voice and data networks, all of which make possible the social and commercial networks of people that make the city attractive.

Cities have grown into megacities