We have one generation to save our cities, global engineering firm warns

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We have one generation to save our cities, global engineering firm warns
Dar es Salaam in Tanzania / © Alamy

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We have one generation to save our cities, global engineering firm warns
Dar es Salaam in Tanzania / © Alamy

Combined challenge of climate change and population growth puts premium on rapid urbanisation ‘in a way that’s not going to kill us’, says head of Arup

Cities around the world have only one generation to meet the twin challenges of climate change and a rapidly growing urban population, the head of a global engineering firm has warned.

Gregory Hodkinson, chairman of the Arup group, said that with more than half the world’s population already living in cities, and the proportion set to rise to 70% by 2050, city leaders need to take urgent action.

“The big challenge – apart from the obvious humanitarian one of trying to build these [cities] fast enough to provide the real basics of shelter and essential utilities – is doing all those things and doing them in a low-carbon way,” he said.

“If we don’t, in my view, we’re screwed: my children and my grandchildren and everybody else’s children. We need to find a way to do this rapid urbanisation in a way that’s not going to kill us – and to do it once.”

Cities, said Hodkinson, tend to rebuild themselves slowly, meaning there is huge pressure on planners to ensure that the urban areas of the coming decades are as clean and sustainable as possible. […]

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