I recently sat down with HP Labs for Part 2 of a five-part series discussing HP’s future technology vision, and how key global forces known as Megatrends are being used to shape that vision and our future. Megatrends are global socio-economic, demographic and technological forces that will have a sustained and transformative impact on businesses, societies, economies, cultures and our personal lives in unimaginable ways in the years to come.

One of the trends that will have a significant impact on our cities, infrastructure, services and environment is the growing expansion of city populations, something HP calls Rapid Urbanization. The world is now more urban than rural, and that is expected to surpass 70% by 2050.  Who will make up these city populations, how they will change our economies and what impact they will have on our environment is something businesses, governments and technologists will be challenged with for years to come.

What opportunities and challenges does Rapid Urbanization pose to HP?

As the population continues to grow and more people move to cities, our cities will get larger, and we’ll have more of them. In fact, by 2030 we will have 41 “megacities with populations of over 10 million people each –more than the current population of Sweden. Meanwhile, the area of urbanized land could triple globally from 2000 to 2030. This is equivalent to adding an area bigger than Manhattan every single day.

Megatrends_AndrewBolwell.com
These megacities will require a new level of infrastructure design and architectural planning, making it easier for residents to work and live in a dense urban setting.

Smart cities will emerge powered by robust technology infrastructure: sensors, data platforms, analytics, cloud, etc.

Roads, public transit, and parking structures will start to serve multiple purposes, generating energy, charging electric vehicles, traffic and emergency operators, in addition to their original function.

Space will be at a premium, forcing us to rethink how we design products to fit in smaller, shared work and living spaces.

And the world around us will become smarter— walking routes based on congestion, construction, pollution, etc.  Even in our homes our everyday items will make city living easier by automatically ordering supplies from neighborhood consumer goods and food outlets when we are running low, delivered by drones and robots and only in quantities we have room to store.

To read the article in its entirety and the role I envision HP playing, please visit HP Labs’ blog

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