Posted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on November 20th, 2014

Major Urban Centers such as New York are growing: In 1950, about 825 million people lived in large cities and two-thirds of the world’s 2.5 billion people lived in rural areas. Today, half of the planet’s 7 billion people live in cities. We have entered the age of the large city as the number of people living in urban environments continues to soar. We have passed the inflection point where the systems of the city define life for the bulk of humanity.

Large cities in developed countries such as the USA are actually significantly more efficient than their rural counterparts yet someone living in New York consumes a QUARTER of the energy than someone living in Dallas (5.875million people in the Dallas/Fort Worth region): technology, policy and ingenuity will work to create the future. More focused, less spread out cities with a strong public transportation system have the capacity to be much more efficient. About 55% of New Yorkers use mass transit, yet 90% of the USA population commute by car. New York has the largest fleet of natural gas and Diesel-hybrid busses in the USA and over 4,000 hybrid cabs. New York City’s GDP is about $1.4 trillion, approaching 10% of the entire USA’s GDP, and is larger than all of Spain or Mexico.

The percentage of urban populations keep growing throughout the world: New York is just one of many global cities with an enormous city-focused population. While the New York Metro region hosts over 20 million people, cities such as Tokyo (37 million), Jakarta (26 million) and Seoul (22.5 million) remind us this is a global trend. Twenty six cities throughout the world have populations in excess of 10 million people.

As urban centers expand, great thought and planning has to be given to the capacity of their infrastructure. In this lies tremendous efficiencies that will benefit all.