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In many parts of the world, the population of major cities is increasing faster than governments can keep up. Currently, 1.3 million people are moving into cities all over the world every week, and the strain on resources such as electricity and transportation is mounting. And, as CNN notes, growth doesn’t always translate to prosperity:
The way in which we plan and build our towns and cities has a direct impact on how well they do. Financial resiliency and prosperity is woven into the very fabric of cities. Where businesses go, where houses go, where roads go, where sidewalks go, where farms and natural spaces go – all of these things collectively affect a community’s economic performance and the cost of providing services there. Put things closer together, the services cost less. Put things farther from each other, the services cost more for the jurisdiction and its taxpayers. But in the case of many American towns and cities, we haven’t always planned and built in this fiscally conservative way – and that’s one of the biggest reasons why cities are struggling today.
When sprawling new development happens, it’s easy to mistake that for prosperity. New buildings and wide roads look great when they first meet the eye. But over time, distant development costs more, gradually bleeding taxpayers and putting the hurt on municipal budgets.
Technology is the likely answer to this problem. Smart city planning and distribution of tax-payer resources will not only save money but will also increase the quality of life in our growing urban areas. The infographic below outlines predicted growth and offers some potential solutions that use emerging technology.