A brilliant new feature by the folks at Nature explains why this century is for the city.
Called "The Century of the City," the feature outlines what's going on around the world -- and how it impacts the work of scientists and others.
The feature is full of wonderful infographics, but also contains some starting facts.
But if you're into rankings, most interesting is the Top 10 list of megacities now -- and the cities that will join them in 2025.
According to the report, the most populous megacities now are:
Please note that the figures go beyond official city limits and include the region that surrounds them.
To that list, add these predictions for 2025 (which I'll remind you is just 15 years from now):
Note the nations where these cities are located. (You might argue that it's time to start teaching American children Chinese.)
Nature argues that while cities are cause of some of the world's most glaring problems, they're also home of the most innovative scientific breakthroughs -- and better still, urban scientists are beginning to use their labs to directly address urban problems.
The threats to cities and the opportunities they present are attracting increasing attention from researchers in many areas. Synthetic biologists, for example, are exploring molecules that could clad skyscrapers and trap carbon dioxide. Scientists have a responsibility to supply many more advances of that nature to ensure the viability of humans as an urban species.
In fact, global climate change is one topic that has urban scientists concerned, largely because it's the cities they call home that perpetrate it. They consume far more resources than their share of the world's population permits, and worse, they emit even more carbon emissions.
Can we achieve a truly sustainable city -- one that's not only sustainable within itself, but in context of the world around it? Lots of smart folks are certainly trying.
I urge you to read their entire report -- then return to SmartPlanet and discover what scientists and others are doing to solve these problems.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com