By 2030 it is estimated that around 60% of the population will live in urban areas, and one in every three people will live in megacities. Urbanisation, however opinion is split on whether this is a positive development, is definitely continuing for the foreseeable future.
From my viewpoint as Head of Infrastructure for RLB UK, working on many of the projects that connect us physically and virtually: locally, regionally and global, urbanisation is definitely a good thing. There is robust evidence that cities outperform rural areas and even government thinking in terms of their efficiency in all aspects such as their consumption of resources, their services and their connectivity. Many commentators quote cities such as New York, London and Tokyo as leading the way in terms of their infrastructures’ performances. The draw of young people to cities is a sign of this progress with places like Birmingham now boasting the largest population of under 25 years old anywhere in Europe.
The real agenda in infrastructure is how we work, play and live in a smarter way and manner and as a consultant working within the sector where we can add value to our clients, and to the communities which our clients serve. We all know we only have a finite level of resources – be that energy, food, or land. How we consume and how that consumption is invested is the key to our future. It is cities and their infrastructure coupled with strategised consumption which is integral to the solution.
That is why projects such as HS2 are so important and will bring real value to the UK as a whole. Being able to better connect cities such as London with Birmingham and possibly Manchester and Leeds and the people within them means we can share these resources and multiply these efficiencies. We need to balance the economy and the footprint of our population away from our centricity with the South East and London and build stronger centres across the UK. Bringing connectivity both virtually and physically will help enhance our efficiencies, our infrastructure and ultimately our lives.