In Summary

  • Rapidly expanding poorly planned and designed cities are hurting the fight against climate change, experts have warned amid sustained rural-urban migration.
  • Estimates have it that by 2050 some 7 in 10 people will live in urban settings, signifying the magnitude of population pressure on cities and towns.

Urban areas have become a magnet for millions of people worldwide in search of economic and social opportunities as well as those displaced by harsh climatic conditions such as  drought and floods in rural areas.

Estimates have it that by 2050 some 7 in 10 people will live in urban settings—signifying the magnitude of population pressure on cities and towns. An estimated 90 percent of urbanization over the next few decades will happen in cities alone.

The grand migration to urban settings is however causing a major concern among experts because it stands to fuel emissions that would worsen climate change.

Read Also: Accelerating Adoption of Sustainable Mobility Ahead of Africa Climate Summit

“Cities are home to the majority of humanity, the majority of global energy consumption and the majority of carbon emissions. At the same time, cities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis,” said Seble Samuel, co-founder of the Ethiopian urban sustainability non-profit Lem Ketema.

Experts say unplanned growth of cities due to the massive rural-urban migration leads to the proliferation of slums, congestion, pollution, greenhouse gases, lack of affordable housing, poor access to sanitation and waste management, and vulnerability to natural hazards, which are exacerbated by climate change.

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City planners are therefore urged to mitigate the looming climate change effects through properly planned and designed cities that are resilient to extreme weather conditions.

Cities are required to transition to low-carbon sustainable economies through aspects such as mass rapid transport systems, eco-friendly housing, green spaces, and proper waste management.

In Africa where most cities are still in developmental stages, there is a perfect opportunity to build resilient cities through well-planned and designed master plans to accommodate the rapidly expanding rural-to-urban migrant populations.



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