Expert voices 2019: Why cities?

Housing the majority of the global population, cities have come to define and shape the overarching challenges of the 21st century. The speed and scale of their development is unprecedented, raising complex questions about how to address the changes they bring to communities around the world.

In conjunction with Penn’s theme “Year of Why,” Eugenie Birch and Susan Wachter, co-directors of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, asked nearly a dozen urban experts to weigh in on the question, “Why cities?” What are the most critical forces that are driving the new importance of urban centrality? How do they differ across the globe? How will urbanization impact inclusivity and sustainability? 

Among their answers, researchers point out that the increase in urbanization will peak by the end of the century or sooner, prompting a need to plan for efficient and sustainable design now. Other experts weigh in on the reality of city living and well-being, and whether the benefit of urban living outweighs the cost. And as metro areas grow larger, increasing the proximity between cities, so too increases the flow of goods and people, including diseases and traffic. 

Read more at Penn IUR.