The Materials Book

198 to quantify the materials currently in use in the world’s urban systems, projected forward to 2050. 1 Over the next thirty years, 2.4 billion people will join the global urban population, meaning an increase from 54 percent of the population living in cities in 2015 to 68 percent by 2050. This will result in the significant expansion of existing cities as well as the construction of new ones. Consequently, material consumption is predicted to grow faster than urban populations. Quantitative analysis of the global resource requirements of future urbanization shows that without a new approach, material consumption by the world’s cities will grow from forty billion tons in 2010 to around ninety billion tons by 2050. In their construction and operation, and to support urban lifestyles, Toward Urban Dematerialization: Governance for the Urban Commons Mark Swilling Virtually every international meeting about the future of cities proceeds from a UN statistic which states that the global urban population is expected to almost double between 2010 and 2050. The New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito in 2016 accepts this as inevitable and suggests a set of relatively mild guidelines for how this can be achieved without destroying the planetary resources that urban economies depend on. This way of thinking builds on Sustainable Development Goal 11, adopted as part of the SDGs in 2015: “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” Cities, however, are built using large quantities of natural materials. The global study I coordinated on behalf of the International Resource Panel, The Weight of Cities , was the first attempt of its kind

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