Cities of the future offer new take on sustainability
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Christina Williams is the editor of Sustainable Business Oregon.
The demographic landscape of the world is quickly changing and it's got some huge implications for global businesses. It's also likely to change the way we approach what we think of as sustainable practices.
But don't take my word for it, ask Chris Riley.
While in college in England, Riley studied something called "cognitive geography" — it's not just about the maps but how we think about the world. He went on to become the strategy chief for Wieden + Kennedy and, from 2005 to 2010 (a span of time that saw the launch of the iPhone and iPad), led strategic planning at Apple's graphic design and marketing communication group. In between these high-profile gigs, he runs StudioRiley out of Portland, consulting with some of the biggest brands in the world including Nokia, Uniqlo, Samsung and Nikon.
Riley spoke Thursday in the auditorium at Ziba Design about what the majority of the world looks like. Spoiler: Nothing like Portland.
The majority world is not white. It's dominated by the 4.9 billion people who live in Africa and Asia. The people on those continents are increasingly online and they're increasingly moving into cities, big ones. In 1970, there were two megacities — cities with more than 10 million people in them — but there are more than 20 today, with more growing. And, not surprisingly, most of them are springing up in Asia and Africa.
The city is quickly becoming the primary geographic unit, Riley says. And as I've argued before, businesses have a key role to play in the sustainability of cities.
The growth and scale of new cities in places where there didn't used to be any presents a host of challenges when it comes to sustainable planning, low-impact transportation, food production and other green city attributes.
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