Global Population Growth and Urbanization

9.7 Billion by 2050


Earth will be home to 9.7 billion people in 2050,1 a jump of 2.8 billion over four decades. This global milestone will have a pronounced urban penchant. Two-thirds of the world’s population will reside in “mega cities,” urban centers with over 10 million inhabitants. These sprawling metropolitan areas will be features in the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America and Africa, with China, India and Nigeria projected to have the highest rates of growth. By 2045, the world’s urban population is predicted to exceed 6 billion.2 An estimated 70% of the global population will live in cities, demanding 80% of total energy by 2030.3

Rapid population growth and urbanization will have a dramatic effect on the increased demand for jobs, housing, energy, clean water, food, transportation infrastructure, and social services. It will also be a significant factor in magnifying the impacts of global warming, according to the Sierra Club of the United Nations Population Fund.4 

Sustainable Solutions Needed


Sustainable growth of “mega cities” is crucial to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Consider that the 20 largest cities consume 80% of the world’s energy. Urban areas generate 80% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. According to The Global Footprint Network, we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the earth’s resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished. Right now, global growth is using about 1.6 earths. This projection underscores the necessity for new approaches and innovative technologies that dramatically reduce or even reverse the effects of CO2 emissions to mitigate the upward trajectory of population growth.
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New Technology Delivers Sustainable Building Materials

The urbanization of the planet over the coming decades will exert intense pressure on the agility and responsiveness of industry to innovate. The building materials and construction industries must adapt new practices to meet the increased demand for materials to build the housing and transportation infrastructure needed to support the anticipated increase in city dwellers, while reducing CO2 emissions in a resource-constrained environment.

Solidia Technologies® has a patented process that reduces CO2 emissions in the production of cement by up to 70%. Cement is responsible for 3-5% of CO2 emissions worldwide. Concrete, the supply chain sibling of cement, is the second most utilized resource after water. Over ten billion tons of concrete are being produced each year. With increased urbanization, this annual rate is projected to grow to up to 29 billion tons. With Solidia Technologies, the building materials and construction industries have the opportunity to benefit from new, sustainable and profitable technology.

1. “World Population Projected to Reach 9.7 Billion by 2050,” United Nations: Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 29 July 2015
2. “World’s Population Increasingly Urban with More Than Half Living in Urban Areas,” United Nations, 10 July 2014
3. “Cities and Mobility,” World Business Council for Sustainable Development, 24 October 2016
4. “Does Population Growth Impact Climate Change?” Scientific American, 29 July 2009
5. “World Footprint: Do we fit on the planet?” Global Footprint Network, 5 August 2016
6. Concrete Materials and Sustainable Development in the United States, Columbia University
7. Based on projections by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

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Additional Resources:

World Urbanization Prospects: 2014 Revision,” United Nations
Rapid Urbanization and Megacities,” Research Study by FIG Commission 3: International Federation of Surveyors
Meeting the Challenges of China’s Growing Cities,” McKinsey & Company
Concrete and the Environment,” University of California, Berkeley