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TREND 6: Continued growth of cities

What do the 2020s have in store for investors? Big-picture thinker David Dowsett sets out the ten trends he foresees emerging over the next decade, along with their investment implications.

TREND 6: Continued growth of cities

The world continues to urbanise at an unprecedented rate. We are still building the equivalent of one New York City every single month.

In the developing world, this phenomenon is only set to continue.

In China, the Pearl River delta mega-city combining Shenzhen Dongguan and Guangzhou will include 150 million residents. This will create an urban area with a population approximately half the size of the entire US. Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will become a city of over 75 million people. There is a clear investment need for these cities to grow in a clean, sustainable and connected way.

In the next decade, I believe we will see a decisive move towards more city-to-city cooperation to address these challenges.

A signal may be found in the way that many US cities have committed to reaching Paris Climate Change accord targets, even as the US has withdrawn at a federal level.

Mike Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative can go global.

The challenges of New York may be more similar to those of London or Shanghai than those of Peoria or Abilene. I am not expecting a return (yet) to the city-states of the Italian Renaissance, but I do expect global cities to find more and more in common.

It may also be the case that more talented politicians operate at the city level, as they can deliver there in contrast to continued dysfunction at the national level. A by-product of this may be that the rural/urban divides evident in the West widen.

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