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The human population is booming. 200 years ago, there were less than one billion humans on earth and today there are over seven billion. As the population grows, so do our urban environments, with more and more people living, working and playing in cities.

Currently, half of the global population resides in urban environments and by 2050, another 2.5 billion people are expected to move to them. There are generally much more employment opportunities in cities compare to rural areas, which is one of the key reasons for their high-density population. In addition to this, the sheer amount of shops, cafes, bars, gyms and buzzing social scenes is increasingly attracting us to urban areas.

As more and more people flock to cities across the globe, it is important that we recognise the challenges our cities face and what we should be concentrating on when considering urban development.

So, what are the key aspects we need to consider as our cities evolve?

Sustainability

With the challenges that urbanisation brings, it is vital that we ensure our cities are sustainable. We should not simply consider the present needs of society but look at how we can be sustainable for future generations. The buildings we design and build must be good quality and affordable to attract and retain city dwellers.

In the construction industry, it is important to ensure that a building is sustainable from planning right through to completion. Companies such as GVA offer exceptional advice on real estate throughout the entire property life-cycle.

Energy efficiency

Due to the rising demand for energy across the globe and depleting supplies, it is critical that our cities find ways to improve their energy efficiency. This will allow cities to thrive for generations to come. Constructing buildings that can retain their warmth and maximise on natural light will not only use less energy but be less expensive to run too. Property developers need to take sufficient measures such as appropriate insulation, weatherising, using high quality windows and efficient appliances and systems.

Accessibility

Our cities are complex environments to navigate. Increasingly tall buildings, reliance on public transport such as buses and underground trains and extremely busy and bustling areas make it hard to create accessible cities. But it is critically important to work towards a fully accessible future if we want our cities to continue to evolve. By 2050, an estimated 940 million people will be living with a disability which presents a huge challenge to the infrastructure of our cities. We need to cater for those with limited mobility by providing ramps, lifts and step-free access. Not only this, but audio and visual measures are rarely put in place – but are key in areas such as train and bus stations.

As our cities continue to develop with the ever-changing needs of society, it is important to consider these fundamental issues. Taking measures to ensure our built environment is accessible, sustainable and efficient will allow the population to thrive for generations to come.

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