Rapid urbanisation is arguably the most complex and important socio-economic phenomenon of the 20th and 21st centuries. Generally understood as a shift from a predominantly rural to a predominantly urban society, it also represents major and irreversible changes in production and consumption and the way people interact with nature. Globally there are over 3 billion people living in cities, and by 2050 that number is expected to rise to 4-5 billion. These new centres of humankind represent the majority of the world's GDP, resource consumption, and waste production. In order to better design and manage urban areas, deeper understanding of the intertwined economic, social, and environmental issues that they generate and face is required.
Expertise and IDBE interests in this area include:
- Mixed-use development – Kayla Friedman
- Smart societies – David Arkell
- Urban housing typologies – Kayla Friedman
 Allen, A. (2009). ‘Sustainable cities or sustainable urbanisation?’. summer 2009. palette. UCL. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sustainable-cities/results/gcsc-reports/allen.pdf