Our planet is moving towards a metropolitan era characterised by large urban agglomerations of unprecedented complexity and diversity. The challenges posed by urbanisation processes become highly visible in metropolitan areas of over one million inhabitants, where up to 1.6 billion people already live and which should be home to 40% of the world’s population by 2050.
As well as the demographic concentration, the great metropolises also host much of the planet’s well-being, economic activity and innovation. Some have higher GDPs than many nation-states: Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Seoul, London and Paris would all figure among the top 30 economies in the world. They host the headquarters of government agencies, major companies, universities, research and cultural centres, and leading civil society organisations; they unite a very substantial proportion of talent and creativity, technological innovation and artistic production. The large metropolises are globally connected and have the ability to articulate and energise the surrounding territories at local, national and regional levels.