July 11 marks the United Nation’s (UN) World Population Day, an annual event to highlight some of the most pressing population growth challenges around the world, and innovative solutions to meet them.
While the global population stands at 7.5 billion today, the UN projects it will reach 10 billion in another 40 years or so, with many more people expected to live in urban areas.
Urbanization is anticipated to be one of the most significant socio-economic trends in modern times. In terms of numbers, cities are predicted to attract 2.5 billion more residents by 2050 when there are likely to be 41 global megacities (cities with populations of 10 million or more). It wasn’t that long ago – 1990 to be precise – that there were only 10 megacities in existence around the world!
Powering Mega Cities
Finding extra electricity to power the many more homes, offices, schools, and other facilities in the megacities, is one of the biggest challenges facing urban planners, local councils, and governments.
Producing renewable energy on a large scale is one way to meet this. A glimpse into this future can be seen in the video below that profiles how an innovative offshore wind power project provides power to nearly one million German homes today.
We’re Living Longer
In addition to rising population numbers, many of us are predicted to live longer due to a host of factors, including breakthroughs in medical treatments and equipment. For example, CT and MRI scanners – and related digital solutions – enable doctors to better detect, and treat ailments much earlier than before. One of the technologies leading the way Is the latest CT scanner developed by GE – watch below to learn more why, and how, the “3D X-Ray” scanner is revolutionizing healthcare.
ASEAN on the Rise and on the Move
ASEAN’s population is expected to grow 17% over the next 20 years with an anticipated 741 million people living throughout the region by 2035.
Overall, ASEAN is one of the youngest regions in the world with 70% of the population under the age of 40. This offers a tremendous opportunity for growth and innovation from a young, technologically literate workforce in the next 20-30 years. At the same time, more developed nations must manage a host of issues related to aging populations.
Compared to previous generations, young ASEAN people with transferable skills and talent are expected to be more mobile seeking new opportunities in cities throughout the region.
Why? Today, more than 22% of ASEAN’s populationlive in cities with 200,000 or more residents – these cities are economic powerhouses accounting for more than 54% of regional GDP. By 2025 an extra 54 million people are expected to call these cities home. In addition, nearly 40% of ASEAN’s GDP growth to 2025 is expected to emanate from just 142 cities with populations between 200,000 and five million people.
Significantly enhanced transport networks will play a critical role in supporting mobility, especially rail, as regional initiatives such as the Trans-Asian Railway and One Belt, One Road steadily come onstream to better connect the region and bolster cross-border trade.