Hong Kong, New York, London, Tokyo, and Paris – all of these cities are quite unique yet the same in so many regards. They represent technological, social, and infrastructural hubs of what is commonly referred to as modern human society. No matter what background, professional experience, or connections you may or may not have, chances are that something new waits in each of these cities – and that is a problem.

According to studies published by PRB, the world’s population is shifting gradually towards hubs such as North America and Europe, while many less developed countries will amount to majorities of a population over 65 years of age.

Educated youth with the future on their shoulders are looking for ways to make ends meet and to live a fruitful life at the expense of leaving behind what doesn’t work as a social norm anymore. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the upcoming hurdles and challenges all big cities will have to face in the future.

Challenges All the Big Cities Will Face in Future: An aerial view of Tokyo
Challenges All the Big Cities Will Face in the Future: Once a small fishing village named Edo, Tokyo, the capital of Japan is the most populous city in the world (by the metropolitan area). As of July 2016, the population of Tokyo’s metropolitan area is 37,800,000. It has also the world’s largest urban agglomeration economy.

1. Basic Residential Resources

Resources such as electricity, water, and gas heating are a necessity, not a commodity. With the influx of new residents coming to big cities, the public authorities will have to pay close attention to the expenditure of resources.

Far be they from scarce, these resources should be kept at optimum levels at all times since natural and social disasters can never be predicted. Cities will multiple millions of full-time citizens should keep a close eye on the lights, warmth, and water in all of their districts.

2. Social Inequality

Social inequality goes far beyond religion, skin color, or lifestyle. In terms of large cities will millions of citizens, it’s hard to find a balance between layers of social statuses. Some people are bound to be well-off and live in rich neighborhoods and districts while the immigrants will always be destined to fight their way to happiness no matter what.

However, businesses and administrative governments should do their best to make the transition from immigration to citizenship as smooth as possible. The influx of new citizens won’t cease so there is no way or need to fight new residents coming in. Once the systems are in place for people to make the most of in terms of moving from one place to another permanently, social inequality will be much less prevalent in big cities.

3. Administrative Governance

Speaking of governing bodies, managing multi-million citizen cities takes a toll on everyone involved. Centralized roles in terms of majors, public executives, and managerial staff should be reworked to accommodate the shift in the scale of operations.

Even the majors of cities such as San Francisco, Athens, or Moscow need to be aware of the 24/7 need for their presence and attention. Splitting the workload further into specialized sectors with decentralized management will allow cities to grow more organically over time. Failing to meet the requirements of globalization and immigration will result in a very poor state of big cities around the world, especially given the generational disparity between energetic youth and city officials.

4. Effective Commute & AI

With the rise in popularity and practical application of self-driving AI vehicles across the world, it’s only natural to talk about it in terms of public commuting. Big cities already have whole government sectors dedicated to managing public transportation systems, underground railways, and dozens upon dozens of city buses.

What if all of that could be centralized and delegated to an autonomous (albeit human-controlled) AI system? Autonomous commute systems would allow for seamless transportation from one section of a city to another without the human factor directly involved.

Gone would be the dreaded delays, overstuffed transports, and confusion over when each line is due to arrive at what stop. While this would signal a job shortage for thousands of existing and future public transportation drivers, their skills can still be implemented where AI isn’t capable of handling itself.

5. Waste Processing

Even though we are a proud, forward-thinking, and advanced species, we are also mammals that produce waste. Waste comes in a variety of types, including our own bodily waste and the multitude of products and materials we go through each day in terms of expendable produce.

This fact is only multiplied when one considers the need for waste processing facilities in multi-million cities. Processing waste in an effective way with no further damage to the environment or the climate is quite a challenge. City authorities and world leaders, however, will have to find ways to manage the growing need for waste processing as taboo as the topic may seem.

6. Infrastructural Expansion

There are only so many city blocks, streets, and public housing objects within each city. Infrastructural expansion and development come at a cost, however, both in terms of budget and environment. As we’ve mentioned previously, immigration and commuting cannot be barred outright and the needs of incoming residents have to be met in one form or another.

Affordable housing units, development projects, and fresh new city blocks will have to spring up in order to house families and individuals looking for new beginnings. This, in turn, raises concerns about job opportunities and the sheer availability of income and career development. As the cities grow in size, they will have to do the same with their administrative, educational, and business opportunities to provide an equal chance for everyone.

7. Climate Change Effects

Lastly, the issue of climate change has plagued cities across the globe and continues to do so to this day. Battling the threat, however, has to start at the core of the issue. Industrial expansion is often a necessity, not only due to a shortage of employment but also the general export and manufacturing needs of each city, state, and country.

As far as city-wide prevention goes residential education projects and ecological industrial development should be considered. Individual cities should rally in hopes of stopping climate change in its tracks with joint projects in order for youth to have a brighter future ahead.

In Summation

The challenges of maintaining what we have left of natural resources and climate are vast and difficult. Major cities are also major culprits of the situation we find ourselves in, even though they also hold the keys to global salvation in their schools, institutes, and development projects. Individual contributions to the cause are a welcome effort, one that we should all take part in no matter the scale at which we can affect the future and our environment.

Daniela McVicker
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