Almost two-thirds of the world's population will reside in cities by 2030.1 Urbanization is creating significant opportunities for social and economic development and more sustainable living, but is also exerting pressure on infrastructure and resources, particularly energy.
While most urban growth will occur in developing countries, ensuring growing cities are properly managed will also be a priority for governments in developed countries as they strive to maintain competitiveness in the face of growing global competition. One of the greatest challenges that policy makers around the globe will face will be monitoring the process of urbanization and managing growth sustainably while ensuring adequate access to housing, water and energy for all citizens. Equally important will be awareness of the social and service-oriented impacts of urbanization, both positive (e.g. efficiencies of serving more concentrated populations) and negative (e.g. rural-to-urban dislocations, loss of family cohesiveness, homelessness and stresses that enhance needs for mental health and other types of services).