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Rapid Urbanization Will Require Cities to Work Together

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Rapid Urbanization Will Require Cities to Work Together

As the world’s population transitions to urban city areas, sustainable initiatives need to consider issues beyond their borders.

In 2011 the United Nations reported that for the first time, more than half the world’s population now lives in urban settings. The rapid urbanization trend is expected to continue throughout the first three decades of the 21stcentury, where urban populations are expected to increase from 2.8 billion people to 4.9 billion. Between 2000 and 2030, researchers expect to see more urban migration than in all of human history combined.

According to researchers in the Royal Swedish Academy journal Ambio, the rapid urbanization of our global population requires that cities look beyond their own boundaries in their sustainability planning. While progressive cities look to minimize environmental impacts within city limits, most ignore the environmental impacts of imports such as food, water, and energy.

Cities require vast amounts of global resources to support their populations. With the expected growth, researchers suggest that cities can no longer operate in isolation—they will need to cooperate with other cities and rural producer communities in creating a more efficient flow of resources.

Sustainable initiatives
Local/community farms
Community supported agriculture supports local family farms and reduces the carbon footprint of transporting food. Local farmers’ markets are a great way to get local produce and to get to know your local community.

Fair trade certification
Buying fair trade certified products ensures producer communities get a fair deal in selling their products. They benefit from ensuring farmers work in safe and environmentally sustainable working conditions, and they also earn social premiums that go towards the development of communities and business.

Organic foods
Food production is a resource-intensive industry that, when tended irresponsibly, can have negative impacts on the environment. Organic foods ensure sustainable farming practices and avoid the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

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