Essay on global megatrends and power shifts
Urbanisation is among the top megatrends facing the world. The trend constitutes the increasing urban population to the extent of having more than half of the world’s population in urban centers by the year 2030. Positive and negative impacts are expected from this megatrend in the seven years to come. The positive impacts include; economic growth, a better quality of life among the urban dwellers, and higher government concern for the urban people. However, the positive impacts are less likely to be experienced, considering the various negative impacts such as increased pollution, health complications, congestion and traffic jams, malnutrition, loss of biodiversity, higher crime rates, economic issues, and water shortages. Governments across the globe need to initiate appropriate measures to accommodate the urbanisation trend properly and minimize the adverse effects.
The world has been undergoing significant and rapid changes due to the impacts of various contemporary megatrends. Urbanisation is among the key megatrends witnessed globally. The megatrend is characterized by the mass movement of people from the local areas to urban centers. The urbanisation rate is alarming and continues to increase steadily. In 2019, the United Nations (UN) approximated that 4.2 billion people (about 54% of the world’s population) lived in urban centers, a figure that was projected to surpass 5 billion by 2030 (Klein et al., 2017). The main purpose of this analytical essay is to analyze the impact of urbanisation on the world from the 2030 perspective.
Urbanisation is a common trend in both developed and developing countries across the world. Many people are attracted to the urban centers of desire to enjoy privileged social and economic services, among them being education, employment, healthcare, sanitation, and business opportunities, among others. Such privileges are not readily available within the rural and suburban areas, hence prompting many people to move to the cities. There are both positive and negative impacts of urbanisation.
Increased economic growth and quality of life
The rate at which cities are growing presently surpasses both suburban and rural areas. By 2030, over two-thirds of the world’s population (approximately 5 billion people) will be living in urban areas (Klein et al., 2017). The mass movement of people to the cities has resulted in an increased concentration of wealth in the urban centers and, subsequently, increased quality of life. Cities are known to contribute to over 80% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The increasing urbanisation population is most likely to promote sustainable economic growth. Therefore, by 2030, it is expected that most of the wealth will be concentrated in urban areas. Besides, those living in the cities will have the highest quality of life compared to those living in rural and suburban areas. The high wealth accumulation in cities, and better quality of life, will keep on attracting more people, hence increasing urbanisation. However, the realization of such anticipated benefits requires good management of the urban people to enhance their innovativeness, creativeness, generation of new ideas, and productivity (Klein et al., 2017).
Increased Governments Commitment to urban issues
The growing urban population will exert more pressure on governments and authorities globally to execute their roles, duties, responsibilities, and mandates appropriately. Policies geared towards improving the lives of the people in urban areas will increase. Some of the anticipated policies will promote community participation, accessible employment, poverty eradication, and whole-of-life journeys. There will be a shift of focus toward addressing urban issues, especially transport congestion.
People will be advised to consider alternate means of transport to motor vehicles, such as walking, bicycle riding, and electric vehicles. For instance, the number of electric vehicles across Australian Cities has been increasing rapidly, and the government has focused on establishing stations to support such vehicles. The primary aim behind such practice is to minimize the pollution levels within the urban centers resulting from the increasing population (Naughtin et al., 2022). Different car manufacturing companies, such as Volvo, Ford, Honda, and General Motors, among others, have been provided with incentives to increase the production capacity of electric vehicles.
Proper cooperation between the rural and urban areas will be encouraged to support the supply of sufficient and nutritious food to urban people while ensuring that the rural populations are better compensated for supporting more production. The wealth disparity between the rich and the poor people living in urban areas will be addressed through social protection and universal health coverage programs (Veispak. A. (2023).
Pollution and Health Effects
Cities consume over 75% of the world’s energy and contribute to more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. With increased urbanisation, it is anticipated that pollution will increase, leading to climate-related risks and catastrophes (Klein et al., 2017). The increasing pollution rates across urban areas come as a result of the presence of a large number of motor vehicles and industries. People living the urban centers will be exposed to more indoor and outdoor air pollution, hence the risk of increased respiratory health, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Some of the possible climate change impacts to be experienced across the world by 2030 are high temperatures, frequent and severe storms, drought and famine, and higher health risks. The risk of infectious diseases increasing is very high (Naughtin et al., 2022).
Air pollution will be the greatest concern in many cities by 2030. In some major cities in the world, such as Beijing and Mexico, people are forced to use face masks for protection against the polluted air. The air pollution across these cities is mainly facilitated by green gas emissions resulting the increased energy usage in cooking, heating, lighting, and transport activities (Li et al., 2020).
The rate at which the global population is shifting to the cities exceeds the rate at which the cities are being developed. Urban centers across the globe are not readily prepared to accommodate over 5 billion people. The people are most likely to lack proper housing, hence promoting the growth of slums. Traffic jams will also increase, as the urban roads have not been expanded appropriately to fully match the growing urban population. Increased congestion on the transport means will slow down economic growth due to time wastage and energy consumption by vehicles and other modes of transport. Congestions in resident and commercial areas will lower the quality of life of a large percentage of the urban population. The rate of communicable diseases, such as STIs, salmonella, measles, and hepatitis, among others, are most likely to increase with increased congestion. Cases of other illnesses, such as malaria and lymphatic filariasis, are expected to increase as a result of the poor drainage systems associated with densely populated urban residential areas like slums.
Increased Crimes Rate
Criminal activities are most likely to increase globally by 2030 due to the mass movement to cities. The large population of people in the cities will have to compete for limited resources and employment opportunities. The high costs of living in the cities will prompt many people to engage in criminal activities like theft and robbery to get funds for clearing electricity, water, food, rent, and other bills. Other contributing factors will include; social exclusion and increased poverty levels with time. Safety and security authorities, and related agencies, will be forced to work on improving their capacities to deal with growing crime rates. It is not easy to guarantee high security and safety levels, with excessively heavy pollution and informal settlements like slums. Thieves and gangsters will take advantage of the changing city landscapes to rob other urban people (Awasthi, 2021).
The number of people across the world with malnutrition issues is expected to rise. Cities have limited access to healthy and nutritious people, besides attracting high costs, which makes them less affordable to the poor urban population. The increasing urban population will increase demand for the limited available foods, considering that only a small percentage of the world’s population will have been left in the rural areas to support agricultural activities. There is the possibility of malnutrition-related illnesses such as Kwashiorkor, Marasmus, and Anemia increasing (Muttarak, 2019).
Increased Obesity and Diabetes
Currently, the cases of obesity and diabetes have been on the rise. However, the cases are expected to rise further following the increasing urban population. Urbanisation promotes the increase of obesity, diabetes, and excessive body weight through unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyles, and transport means, which minimize physical activities. Besides, cardiovascular and respiratory complications are anticipated to increase, as they are closely related to these two health issues. In the past, these diseases have been linked to the wealthy and top-class people, but by 2030, the number of middle and lower-income classes people struggling with the same will surpass that of the high-income class (Dun et al., 2021).
Many urban centers experience water shortages, and further shortages are anticipated by 2030. Currently, over 30% of urban populations lack access to clean water, while over 50% lack adequate sanitation. The increasing urbanisation rate is among the key factors contributing to the clean water shortage issues across many cities. The growing population will put more pressure on the available water sources in attempts to meet both residential and commercial water use. With large populations in the cities, many governments will be unable to ensure proper governance and management of water and other infrastructures due to limited resources. In a few years to come, accessing clean and sufficient water in many cities across the globe will not be easy. Among the key alternative water uses that most cities will consider by 2030 include boreholes and the recycling of dirty water (Singh et al., 2021).
As more people continue shifting from the local to urban areas, biodiversity loss is much expected by 2030, as more land around the existing cities must be cleared to accommodate residential, commercial, and recreational buildings. Urban tree coverage will decline, thus further affecting the quality of breathing air. Climate change resulting from the increased pollution in the urban centers will make the areas unsuitable for vegetation survival. Agricultural lands will also be affected, leading to a reduction in food production and supply to the urban centers (Theodorou, 2022).
Urbanisation is most likely to generate critical economic issues if not appropriately managed. Traditional industries will decline by 2030, considering that they cannot be operated from urban areas. Such a decline will suggest a decline in the overall GDP and exports. There is a high likelihood of informal economies rising from the urban centers as people from highly diversified backgrounds come together. In most cases, informal economies do not support effective taxation systems, hence denying governments sufficient tax revenues. Inflation issues have been experienced, and higher rates are expected by 2030. This is because there is declining production of major agricultural foods and increasing demands at the urban centers. Low supply, and high demand, will attract high costs for the available food commodities, hence increasing inflation rates. The industrial sectors in the urban areas lack the capability of providing full employment for the increasing urban population. In such a situation, there are expected cases of unemployment and underemployment, which are harmful to economic growth and development (McGee, 2019).
The overall impact of urbanisation by 2030 will be negative. It is high time that different governing authorities focus on developing appropriate and timely solutions for the expected adverse impacts like increased pollution and related social and economic issues. Improving the living standards in rural areas through better social and economic opportunities can effectively address the urbanisation issue.