According to the World Economic and Social Survey 2013 produced by the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, cities will be populated by more than 6.25 billion people by 2050. To meet the impacts of the rapid urbanization growth, there is an urgent need to come up with strategies that will address the challenges of sustainable development. Failure to do so may result in 3 billion people (from currently 1 billion) living in slums with no access to basic infrastructure and services, such as electricity, water, sanitation, education, and health care, by 2050.
Sustainable development involves good economic and social health with no negative effect on the environment. According to the report, strategies must aim at changing production and consumption patterns worldwide since around 32% of the food produced in the world is wasted. Global food production also needs to increase by 70% to accommodate the additional 2.3 billion by 2050.
Energy is another key concern in sustainable development. The goal is to end the dependence on traditional energy sources and increase energy efficiency. Other important issues for sustainable cities include employment creation, transportation and infrastructure development, land-use concerns, waste management, education, health care, and housing.