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ByВ Janine Davidson

The trends outlinedВ in this blogВ and in theВ McKinsey reportВ should not go un-noticed by military leaders and planners.В  Given that war is and has always been a fundamentally human endeavor, the fact that the vast majority of humanity will be living in complex mega-cities means that fighting, for better or worse, will be in urban environments, most of which will be located on coastlines.

Urbanization, especially when combined with other emerging trends such as climate change (asВ Will Rogers points out), resource scarcity (especially water), poverty, and radicalization will pose great challenges to governments.В  Thinking of theВ city as a system, as proposed by David Kilcullen, is useful for city planners, city managers and military planners.В  City planners and managers should be focused on promoting resilience, as the ability to withstand shocks, flex, absorb, and regenerate will be the trademarks of successful cities of the future.

Still, cities will face extreme shocks and crises, no matter how resilient they may seem.  And, as the U.S. military’s long forgotten 1996 Joint Operating Concept for Military Support to Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) pointed out, “Once such difficult conditions emerge, the drivers of instability and conflict tend to reinforce one another, creating a degenerating cycle in which conditions continue to deteriorate, and the feelings of insecurity and the grievances of the local population intensify.”  The authors of that JOC conceptualized the stability operations environment as a complex system under stress and recognized that the longer a system was exposed to chronic stresses such as crime, gang violence, or insurgency, or the greater the magnitude of the shock from a natural disaster or war, the more the system risked collapse.  Preventing or reversing this potential spiral was the defining task of SSTR.  The JOC authors struggled with how to approach this phenomenon using a systems approach and left much unanswered, but their “system under stress” model is a useful frame on which to build as we attempt to cope with the inevitable challenges of urbanization and contemplate what military operations in such environments might be like.

Prevention and Resilience

Across the U.S.G. there is an emerging emphasis on prevention and resilience.  On the civilian side, this is reflected in new U.S. development programs such as the Global Climate Change Initiative, the Global Health Initiative and Global Food Security.  In his 2012 “Annual Letter,” USAID Administrator, Rajiv Shah, emphasized the need to shift the focus from “relief to resilience – from responding after emergencies to preparing communities in advance.” Feed the Future, for example, calls for a shift from emergency food relief to helping build local capacity that can promote food security and help prevent famines.  Likewise, the Obama administration built on President Bush’s most successful second-term USAID initiative, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), by developing a plan for the next five years that transitions from an emergency focus, enhances partnerships with other AIDS programs, builds local government capacity and focuses on sustainability, prevention, and resilience.

Similarly, as DoD’s recent Budget Priorities document suggests, the U.S. military seeks to “reduce the demand for significant U.S. force commitments to stability operations,” by strengthening the ability of local and regional security forces to respond to their own crises.  In a perfect world, such security enhancement efforts would be integrated with development efforts and those of other countries, non-government aid organizations, and the private sector for a more holistic approach to helping societies prepare for the stresses associated with rapid urbanization, resource scarcity, and climate change.  But of course we do not live in that world; and while outside assistance from the U.S. and others may help, the fact is that many of our global cities will face extreme crises due to natural, man-made, or a combination of these shocks.  And when this happens, inevitably, the U.S. military will be called in to assist.

Lessons for the Future

While military planners must not get stuck in the past continually “fighting the last war,” they must also recognize where lessons can be learned.  To prepare for the complex urban environments of the future, we might start by analyzing and “red teaming” a couple of the more challenging recent cases to consider what lessons future enemies have been gleaning and how such lessons might be applied in the complex urban fights of the future.  The following cases present a cross-sectional array of lessons, for both our enemies and ourselves:

1. The Shock of Mumbai:В  In November, 2008, a well-trained and well-armed Pakistani terrorists group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, launched a sophisticated raid on the most populous city in the world, the coastal mega-city of Mumbai, India.В  After commandeering fishing vessels in the middle of night, 10 commando-terrorists landed on two separate points in the heart of the city and began to systematically execute civilians in eleven pre-determined highly populated target locations.В  They had used Google earth to plan the attacks on each target, and their actions were coordinated via a Pakistan-based command center using cell phones and VOIP.В  Their leaders leveraged television news and social media, such as Twitter, to monitor the actions in real time.В  The attack continued for three days as the local police struggled to respond through the complex maze of their own city streets and the babble of reports coming in.В  Special Indian counter-terrorism and para-military forces, including the National Security Guards, the Rapid Action Force, and Marine Commandos were needed to engage the terrorists as local police forces were simply out-gunned.

The Mumbai attackers leveraged the very complexity of the city as well as its coastal location to launch a highly sophisticated and terrifying attack that was simply beyond the capability and capacity of the local law enforcement to prevent or to respond.В  Until the lines were cut, the terrorists were able to track the movements of security forces on television news while barricaded with hostages in one of the hotels.В  Foreign forces, had they been called in to assist, might have brought more sophisticated weaponry or online casino communications equipment, but would have had to cope with limited maneuverability among hordes of traffic and people on unfamiliar streets, and may have arrived too late to the game anyway.

2. Mexico Under Stress:  Where the Mumbai raids reflect the shock that can be applied to a complex urban system by a very small group of terrorists, the war against the drug cartels across Mexico demonstrates how the chronic violence of organized crime can stress a system nearly to a breaking point.  For violent criminals in places like Mexico a mixture of urban and rural environments can be leveraged to conduct operations.  But what is perhaps more important to grasp is how such illicit non-state and transnational actors are able to actively exploit the cultural and institutional pre-dispositions of traditional governments that prefer to bifurcate “crime” from “war,” and thus law enforcement tasks from those of the military.

In Mexico, one might conclude that the police have been “defeated” through infiltration of the ranks, corruption, and intimidation.  The answer has been for the Mexican government to call in its military to bring stability, law, and order to the cities most overwhelmed by violence and crime.  Of course, the militaries are not well trained in such para-military or police-like work, are usually unfamiliar with the local environments, and thus have had little success in reversing this degenerative spiral.  Should other governments be invited to intervene, they would face a similar conundrum on whether to send police or military units to assist.

The lesson for the “bad guys” of the future is to find ways to operate in this gap between crime and war.  Similarly, pirates off the coast of Somalia understand clearly that due to the international regimes regarding crime and war, they will neither be targeted like an enemy naval vessel and blown out of the water nor prosecuted in any particular court with authority over their crimes.  War-like criminals, transnational gangs, and traffickers of the future will ride their violent activities to the edge of this perfect gap until governments determine how to close it.

3. Katrina, Haiti, Japan and the Spiral to Chaos:В  Hurricane Katrina that hit the U.S. coastal city of New Orleans in August 2005 demonstrated that the developed world is not immune to systemic urban breakdown.В  As local police and first responders left their own posts to protect and aid their own families, the most vulnerable citizens were without protection, food, and water.В  Once it became clear that the police were no longer present, common criminals began to loot and gangs began to form.

In Haiti, the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit in 2010 similarly overwhelmed local authorities.В  In addition to rescuing and caring for refugees, the need to prevent or stop the spread of disease in a city of 3.5 million was a challenge.В  In future, responding to epidemics will present even greater challenges to weak mega-cities hit by similar natural disasters.В  Even military troops may not have the capacity to treat or quarantine the populations that may be required.

Finally, the 2011 combination of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan reflects clearly both the vulnerability of our complex mega cities and the value of resilience.В  In Japan, earthquake-proof buildings limited the type of full-scale destruction we might anticipate if such a triple-disaster were to hit a less resilient, highly populated, urban center.В  Still, despite a laudable level of resilience, Japan still needed humanitarian disaster relief from others.В  Meanwhile, the nuclear part of the disaster has made populations around the world reluctant to adopt nuclear solutions in the future.В  This presents challenges to urban planners who must address the need for more and more energy to power mega cities.

Future Military Planning

A couple of themes emerge from these cases for military planners to consider.

The first is that militaries will continue to be called on when civilian agencies are overwhelmed.В  In each of the cases above, the challenges were beyond the capacity and capability of local law enforcement or first responders.В  As the cases of Japan and Katrina show, this will likely be true even in the more developed and modern cities.

Second, we need to get very serious about “interagency” planning between police and military forces.  The traditional lines between these two may exist for good historical reasons, but they are becoming a liability.  Terrorists, insurgents, pirates, well-armed transnational traffickers and criminals have learned to operate with near impunity in this gap.  When criminals are better armed than police, we need to rethink how we conceptualize these two realms.  In Mumbai, only the special para-military types of units were able to compete with the terrorists.

Third, military planning must consider both the advantages and disadvantages technology provides.  American forces rely heavily on cyber and space-based technologies for communication, navigation, and targeting.   On the low end, the military must train and plan to fight “unplugged” – that is, in environments where such systems are down or compromised.  On the higher end, for environments when the lights stay on, leveraging social media for up to date information or clever crowd-sourced geo-mapping must be part of the military’s repertoire.  Importantly, military planning must account for either scenario in the same plan.

Fourth, if the military is to train the way it will fight, it will need to conduct more of its exercises and training in real cities, and do so side by side with law enforcement.  Small “MOUT” (military operations in urban terrain) sites at military training centers have gotten more sophisticated, but they do not expose troops to the real complexity and “fog” they will face attempting to navigate or control crowded, over-populated streets in mega-cities.

One of the biggest challenges will be scale. While the surges in Afghanistan and Iraq may demonstrate the value of greater numbers of boots on the ground for complex insurgencies and stability operations, the inability of mega-cities under stress to absorb, house, and feed these troops will require military units to be as small and as self-sustaining as possible.В  The military should experiment with off-shore staging, building on the hospital-ship model from previous disasters, and also think through how to have greater impact with smaller numbers.

Finally, as Japan and Katrina show, for massive shocks caused by Mother Nature, local-level response, even in some of the more resilient cities, will not be enough. Regional and global relief regimes will need to be leveraged and coordinated with the private sector and relief organizations.В  As the jammed airfields in Haiti revealed, coordination of the myriad humanitarian relief groups will become increasingly problematic unless we develop pre-determined rules of the road.

Some national security and military leaders may think that now that we are winding down in Afghanistan and Iraq, we will be able to actively avoid anything resembling those population-centric missions in future.  But it is a simple fact of military planning – especially in a democracy – that the military does not get to chose where it gets sent, what wars it will fight, what enemies it will face and in which environments.  An increasingly urbanized world means the military will find itself in cities, among crowded populations, and fighting savvy enemies who have been paying close attention, learning, and adapting.  The cases presented here are only a sample of the lessons the military must continue to mine in order to prepare itself for this new fight.

Janine Davidson is Assistant Professor at George Mason University’s Graduate School of Pubic Policy. From 2009-2012, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans where she oversaw the development of guidance for military campaign and contingency plans and the review and assessment of plans.  She previously served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and with theUnited States Air Force, where she was an aircraft commander and senior pilot for the C-130 and the C-17 cargo aircraft.

Military Operations as Urban Planning

By Michael Evans

There is little question in my mind that the demographic trends creating rapid urbanization will, over time, influence the conduct of joint warfare. By 2030 up to seventy per cent of the world’s population is likely to inhabit an urban area marking a strategic shift from landscape to cityscape. Moreover, many of the new urban centres will be in Asia and Africa. Even if one disagrees with Parag Khanna’s observation that we are approaching a global inflection point in which ‘the age of nations is over. The new urban era has begun’, we are, nonetheless, in the midst of a profound geopolitical shift in which urban areas will figure prominently in future Western joint military planning.

The difficulty the US and its allies will confront is that, while some global megacities may become hubs of stability, many others in the underdeveloped world are likely to become distributed slum ecosystems for a volatile migrant underclass marked by unemployed youth that will be easy recruitment material for revolutionary militias or any number of transnational insurgent groups or hybrid warfare opponents. It does not require a great leap in imagination to realise that the dystopian features of urbanization will favour the forces of transnational disorder. The rise of ‘metropolitical warfare’ is not a Blade Runner fantasy but a looming reality in the decades ahead – General Krulak’s ‘Stepchild of Somalia and Chechnya’ with a vengeance.

As a result, it will be incumbent in full-spectrum military operations to casino online develop a form of urban operational art that exploits robotics and digitisation and appropriate low-tech capabilities. Cities are classic complex adaptive systems, a blend of interactive human and material forces, unpredictable and difficult to control.

Our conceptual problem in Western strategy is that we often equate city warfare with the horrifying battles of Stalingrad and Manila from a World War II paradigm – or else we default to MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain). This is an outmoded approach and must be replaced by a MOUP (Military Operations as Urban Planning) approach in which military professionals leverage knowledge from urban planners, emergency services and policing – in short an inter-agency approach.

After ten years of counterinsurgency, there is, of course, little appetite for urban military operations. Unfortunately, urban development in the ‘global South’ will continue and it will intersect with insurgency, terrorism and hybrid warfare. Most urban development is predicted to be decentralized and may over time become focused on sprawling ‘city webs’, dense enclaves with no clear urban-rural divide and this will favour any number of armed groups who may, in turn develop a rural-urban interface. Cities such as Karachi in Pakistan are a good example of this development and potentially pose a severe challenge to state-order.

An urban lens in strategy and security policy must then be developed in the US and the West – and this must go beyond military professionals and embrace the policy community and defense intellectuals. The city as a battlespace is not a place where we would choose to fight, but it may become necessary in some future contingencies.

It was Lewis Mumford in his book 1961 book The City in History who warned us that evey city contains within it the ‘lethal genes’ of war. Fifty years on Mumford looks more prescient than ever.

Dr. Michael Evans is a Fellow at the Australian Defence College in Canberra, Australia.

Urbanization, Security and Resiliency

By Nancy E. Brune

In 2008, for the first time, the world’s urban population exceeded its rural population. According to theUnited Nations estimates, urbanization will grow from about 50 percent of the world’s population today to about 60 percent by 2030. More importantly, urbanization – and its accompanying pressures – will not be evenly distributed. As illustrated in Figure 1, the urban population as the percentage of the total population has grown around the world over the last three decades; however, the urban population as a percentage of total population has risen more quickly in Latin America & the Caribbean the Middle East & North Africa, and East Asia and the Pacific.

NIC Blog – Urbanization, Security and Resiliency – Figure 1

More than 90 percent of projected urban growth will continue to occur in developing nations, fueled by increasing population and rural to urban migration.

Researchers note that, traditionally, the largest drivers of urbanization are primarily natural disasters (and increasingly ecological degradation).В  War and conflict have also caused populations to flee into urban areas. Climate change and the increasing desertification of once-arable lands have also fueled rural to urban movements in recent years, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Certainly, urbanization may be the result of conflict. But it is also the case that urbanization may be associated with poor security conditions in countries. The (rapid) movement of people from rural areas to more urban (or even peri-urban) cities may exacerbate underlying ethnic and religious tensions, place pressures on weak infrastructure that is already being pushed beyond capacity, increase distributional pressures, and demand governance and better planning from governments too weak to sustain themselves.

To illustrate this claim, the author looks at the urbanization trends in theВ Failed States 2012 list. Interestingly, of the Top 20 Failed States, 15 of them had urban population growth rates that exceeded the global mean. (For those stats jocks, please note that the authors of the Failed States Index do not include any information on urbanization). Table 1 includes data on the countries (with their Failed States ranking) that experienced urban population growth rates that exceeded the global mean and experienced significant increases in their urban population as a percentage of the total population.

Table 1. Urbanization data for Select Countries

Country

Urban Population Growth (%)

Average

1990-2010

Urban Population Growth (%)

Global Mean

1990-2010

Urban Population as % of Total

1980

Urban Population as % of Total

2010

Cote d’Ivoire (11)

3.49

2.33

36.9

50.1

Guinea (12)

4.04

2.33

23.6

35.4

Haiti (7)

4.52

2.33

20.5

49.6

Nigeria (14)

4.46

2.33

28.6

49.8

Somalia (1)

2.78

2.33

26.8

37.4

Sudan (3)

5.23

2.33

20.0

45.2

Yemen (8)

5.69

2.33

16.5

31.8

Source: Data from World Bank Development Indicators 2012

Many of these ‘failed states’ which experienced higher urban population growth rates and increases in the urban population have direct bearing on U.S. national security interests and have received some form of (humanitarian, economic and/or military) assistance from the United States in recent years.

For example, even before the aftermath of the disastrous 2010 earthquake, the United States has had deep relations with Haiti and has provided various types of assistance while encouraging democratic and economic reforms.  Nigeria, which is the fifth largest exporter of oil to the United States, is a critical regional partner. Of growing concern are the steady bombings (reportedly perpetrated by the militant Islamic group, Boko Haram) in northern Nigeria, a region which has witnessed desertification, ecological degradation and loss of economic livelihood – conditions which have fueled north-south migration in recent decades. A failed state for a number of years, Somalia (and its Transitional Federal Government) has received various forms of U.S. assistance over the years. The U.S. is particularly concerned with the al-Shabaab Islamic insurgents, which continue to battle the Transitional Federal Government and have now extended the battlefield into Kenya, as well as the home-grown Somali pirates which continue to operate off the coast with almost complete immunity. Moving northwest, Sudan’s largest funder is the United States who has provided more than $8 billion in assistance since 2005. And finally, Yemen continues to struggle with demographic pressures, rapid urbanization, and long standing regional and political differences. In recent days, the U.S. Department of Defense has resumed the supply of counter-terrorism weapons, ammunition and communication to help Yemen’s special forces project power beyond the capital to combat efforts by al-Qaeda to “destabilize the region and both indirectly and directly harm U.S. interests.”

Managing the Challenges of Urbanization

To be clear, urbanization does not result in conflict. But, urbanization, especiallyВ rapidВ urbanization, in the face of underlying ethnic tensions, weak government capacity or poor infrastructure, may result in a deteriorating general security environment.

The simple analysis which hints as an associative relationship between rapid and significant urbanization and state failure (or a generally insecure, unstable environment) suggests that governments, decision makers and planning officials need to pay greater attention to how to manage the continued urbanization which is projected through 2030.

Below are three recommendations for governments and planning officials as they think about how to manage the continued urbanization in the developing world where governments are struggling with ways to provide adequate resources for a growing urban population.

1.В Fund Infrastructure

Every year, approximatley 65 million people are added to the world’s urban population, equivalent to adding seven cities the size of Chicago annually. Urbanization may create challenges when the urban infrastructure does not exist to (adequately) support the addition of the influx of people.

Unfortunately, governments around the world – both developing and developed alike – are failing to exist sufficiently in infrastructure. A 2012 OECD report concluded that Latin America has “large infrastructure gaps.”  Africa also has significant infrastructure gaps – in power, roads, housing, etc.  As noted by the World Bank’s 2010 Africa’s Infrastructure Report, Africa’s power infrastructure delivers “only a fraction” of the services online casino provided in other parts of the developing world. For instance, “the 48 Sub-Saharan Africa countries (with 800 million people) generate roughly the same power as Spain (with 45 million people).” The report also estimates that it will require $18 billion a year to build and maintain an adequate transport network that provides adequate regional, national, rural, and urban road connectivity including all road, rail, port and air networks. These infrastructure gaps are not limited to the developing world. For instance, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated in 2005 that it would take $1.6 trillion simply to make U.S. infrastructure dependable and safe.

Governments around the world should prioritize basic infrastructure funding.  In addition to helping policymakers mitigate complicated challenges of urbanization, many economists agree that “public investments in infrastructure and economic growth are inextricably linked.” As noted in the Global Trends 2030 Report, we can anticipate that technology may be a game changer and may help urban planners deal with the complex challenges posed by urbanization. Among these potential game changing solutions are: precision agriculture, water desalination, greenhouse agriculture, and renewable energy (e.g. solar technology) technologies.

В 2.В Integrate Resource Planning and ManagementВ 

Rapid urbanization has left policy planners struggling with ways to provide water, energy, and food and housing, as demands increase and supplies decline. In most countries, successfully addressing these resource challenges (and thus stemming urban migration) is undermined by the existence of separate administrative structures and policies for water, energy, agriculture and planning. This results in sub-optimal policies, regulations and resource management practices. Slowing the migration trends by improved agricultural, water and energy development, and other improvements, in rural regions has been completely beyond the reach of integrated planning efforts. For instance, the lack of integrated planning has contributed to the growth of informal settlements (or slums). Inadequate zoning and housing have excluded many (poor and rural migrants) from being integrated with urban development.

However, independent of additional infrastructure investments, policymakers should think about how to work more efficiently.В  Specifically, governments should modernize public management systems to so as to integrate infrastructure planning and delivery of services across agencies and levels of government. International and regional financial institutions and international organizations could provide technical assistance and require integrated planning when financing any infrastructure project.

3.В Build Resiliency Into Urban Infrastructure Systems

Rapid urbanization poses several challenges to urban infrastructure system. Examples include increased demand for electricity on an outdated electric grid or new urban settlements in areas that are not served by roads, water or sanitation services. In addition, climate change and natural disasters will continue to complicate the urbanization pressures faced by governments, particularly those in the developing world. Whether improving current infrastructure systems or planning new infrastructure projects, governments must build resiliency into their urban infrastructure systems.  According to theU.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Infrastructure resilience is the ability to reduce the magnitude and/or duration of disruptive events. The effectiveness of a resilient infrastructure or enterprise depends upon its ability to anticipate, absorb, adapt to, and/or rapidly recover from a potentially disruptive event.” The elements of a resilient urban infrastructure system include:

Robustness: the ability to maintain critical operations and functions in the face of crisis. This can be reflected in physical building and infrastructure design (office buildings, power generation and distribution structures, bridges, dams, levees), or in system redundancy and substitution (transportation, power grid, communications networks).  Robustness is related to the system’s absorptive capacity.

Resourcefulness: the ability to skillfully prepare for, respond to and manage a crisis or disruption as it unfolds. This includes identifying courses of action, business continuity planning, training, supply chain management, prioritizing actions to control and mitigate damage, and effectively communicating decisions. Resourcefulness is related to the system’s adaptive capacity and the notion of flexibility.

Rapid recovery: the ability to return to and/or reconstitute normal operations as quickly and efficiently as possible after a disruption. Components include carefully drafted contingency plans, competent emergency operations, and the means to get the right people and resources to the right place.

Introducing resilience into the urban infrastructure so that it can adapt to rapid urbanization (and other climate related challenges) will require urban policy planners to think about urban infrastructure as a system. Viewing urban infrastructure as a system and organizing the agencies and operations as such will allow urban planners to identify ways to build redundancy and flexibility into the larger system, thereby enabling it to respond to urbanization challenges.

While this piece concludes by discussing the importance of introducing resiliency into urban infrastructure systems, there is a larger point to be made. The authors of the draft Global Trends 2030 report entitled “Alternative Worlds” discuss several megatrends – including demographic challenges (e.g. aging populations and urbanization), the diffusion of power across countries, and the prominence of the individual in society (elevated through technology, education, improved access to health care, etc.).  Some nations may not adapt so well to these megatrends and the alternative worlds they will shape.  Others may leverage the potential opportunities. The degree of resiliency in a nation’s ‘systems’ – including infrastructure, economic structures, public institutions and social organization  — may in fact determine how will it can adapt to these alternative worlds.

Dr. Nancy E. BruneВ is a Non Resident Senior Fellow at theВ Center for a New American Security.

By David J. Kilcullen

The City as a System

This era’s unprecedented urbanization is concentrated in the least developed areas of Asia, Latin America and Africa.  The data shows that coastal cities are about to be swamped by a human tide that will force them to absorb—in less than 40 years—almost the entire increase in population absorbed by the whole planet, in all of recorded human history up to 1960. And virtually all this urbanization will happen in the world’s least developed areas, by definition the poorest equipped to handle it—a recipe for conflict, crises in health, education and governance, and food, energy and water scarcity.

Rapid urbanization creates economic, social and governance challenges while simultaneously straining city infrastructure, making the most vulnerable cities less able to meet these challenges. The implications for future conflict are profound, with more people fighting over scarcer resources in crowded, under-serviced and under-governed urban areas.

Consider, for example, the interaction between climate change and coastal urbanization. Rural environmental degradation prompts migration to coastal cities, putting more people in low-lying regions, where the slightest sea level rise can cause major disruption. Indeed, the Asian Development Bank estimated in 2011 that drought, desertification and soil salinity, exacerbated by climate change, will prompt millions of rural people across the Asia-Pacific region to migrate to cities over coming decades:

Geography, compounded by high levels of poverty and population density has rendered Asia and the Pacific especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  The region is home to more than 4 billion people and some of the fastest growing cities in the world. By 2020, 13 of the world’s 25 megacities, most of them situated in coastal areas, will be in Asia and the Pacific. Climate change will likely exacerbate existing pressures on key resources associated with growth, urbanization and industrialization.[i]

The food security effects are equally severe, as pollution from coastal urbanization imperils fish stocks, and peri-urban areas surround city cores whose infrastructure is scaled for populations far smaller than they now support. This newly settled peri-urban land was once used for farms, market gardens and orchards, but as cities expand into this space, the distance between the city core and its food sources increases significantly. Food must now be produced further away and transported over ever-greater distances, increasing transportation and refrigeration costs, raising fuel usage and carbon emissions, exacerbating traffic problems, and creating “food deserts” in urban areas. Likewise, many cities are running out of water, a problem that will only increase as populations swell, and as urbanization covers rainfall catchment areas, pushing cities further from their water sources.

The growing size and complexity of cities also strains the infrastructure of governance—police, district administrators, courts, hospitals, schools, and maintenance services. In particular, government presence can be extremely limited in peri-urban areas, allowing the emergence safe havens for criminal networks or non-state armed groups, or creating a vacuum filled by local youth, who do not lack for grievances arising from their new urban circumstances or from their home villages. Even in developed cities like Paris and London, rioting, youth unrest and crime in peri-urban districts reached significant levels on several occasions over the past decade—and in underdeveloped regions the problem is even worse.[ii]

It is useful to think of urban migration from the rural hinterland—driven by rural environmental degradation, energy poverty or conflict—as the supply side of a population-flow system whose demand side includes the problems of urban overstretch, crime, scarcity and conflict just mentioned. The city is a system which, in turn, nests within a larger national and global system, with coastal cities functioning as an exchange mechanism that connects rural hinterlands with urban populations, and with international networks. We can represent this graphically, along with the key trends we have been discussing, as follows: NIC Blog – Kilcullen – City as a system

In this model, the coastal city is the center of a larger system, with rural factors in the city’s hinterland—including environmental degradation, poor rural infrastructure, and rural conflict—prompting rapid urbanization. This creates ad hoc peri-urban settlements where slums and shantytowns displace land formerly used to provide food and other services to the city, and cover the rainfall catchment area for the city’s water supply. The city’s growth puts its infrastructure under stress, so that both the old urban core and the new peri-urban areas experience weak governance, crime, urban poverty, unemployment and conflict. Shortages of food, fuel, electricity and water exacerbate these problems. In turn, the city’s connectedness allows its population to tap into licit and illicit activities offshore, and to connect with global networks, including diaspora populations, an interaction that affects both local and international conflict dynamics.

The data suggest that this is the environment in which future conflict will occur. To recap, this is not a futuristic prediction, but rather a projection of trends that are evident now, and an assessment of their effects on cities as they exist today. There will certainly be outliers—wars in desert and mountain terrain, and state-on-state “conventional” war—but this analysis does suggest the system parameters within which future conflict is likely to occur, and the majority such conflict seems likely to be urban, networked and littoral.

Implications

This analysis of the future conflict environment suggests that the recent U.S. shift away from protracted stabilization and counterinsurgency operations, toward conventional conflict, conflict prevention and military-to-military assistance, is somewhat unrealistic. American policy-makers, not for the first time, have expressed a strong preference for avoiding messy conflicts like those of the past decade. Nonetheless, as we have seen, policy-makers’ preferences seem to have little effect on the frequency of overseas interventions, a historical pattern which suggests that the United States is likely to undertake one major stabilization or counterinsurgency operation (on the scale of Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam) every generation, and smaller operations every (on the scale of Bosnia or Kosovo) every five to ten years, for the foreseeable future.

While this pattern is likely to endure, the environment in which such interventions occur is shifting. The three megatrends of urbanization, littoralization and connectedness suggest that conflict is increasingly likely to occur in coastal cities, in underdeveloped regions of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America andAsia, and in highly networked, connected settings. Adversaries are likely to be non-state armed groups (whether criminal or military) or to adopt asymmetric methods, and even the most conventional hypothetical war scenarios turn out, when closely examined, to involve very significant “irregular” aspects.

Whether irregular or state-based, adversaries in the future conflict environment will exhibit hybrid characteristics (combining state and non-state, domestic and international, military and criminal and licit and illicit elements) and these adversaries will be able to nest within the complexity of urban environments, as well as within legitimate national and international systems.

The implications for the military are reasonably obvious, if difficult to act upon in the current fiscal environment. Capabilities such as Marine amphibious units and naval supply ships, as well as facilities for expeditionary logistics in urbanized coastal environments are fairly obvious requirements, as are rotary-wing or tilt-rotor aircraft, precise and discriminating weapons systems, and the ability to rapidly aggregate or disaggregate forces to operate in a distributed, small-unit mode while still being able to concentrate quickly to mass their effect against a major target. Combat and construction engineers, civil affairs units, intelligence systems capable of making sense of the clutter of urban areas, and constabulary (gendarmerie)-type and coast guard capabilities are also likely to be important. The ability operate for a long period in a city without drawing heavily on that city’s water, fuel, electricity or food supply will be important also.

The implications for civilian agencies of government are equally obvious—the casino online ability to expand social services, city administration, and rule of law into peri-urban areas are clearly important, as are investments in infrastructure to guarantee supplies of fuel, electricity, food and water. Less obvious, but equally important, are investments in governance and infrastructure in rural areas, as well as efforts to mitigate the effects of rural environmental degradation that cause unchecked and rapid urban migration. Given the prevalence and increasing capability level of threat networks, policing capabilities will need to embody a creative combination of community policing, constabulary work, criminal investigation and special branch (or police intelligence) work, potentially in close collaboration with the military. And local city managers, district-level officials and ministry representatives may need capabilities that allow them to operate in higher-threat, opposed governance environments.

The implications for businesses, civil society and the public go well beyond either of these rather narrowly scoped considerations. In the first place, the environmental shifts outlined above represent far more than a future theory of conflict—indeed, they are a “theory of everything” in the sense that the three key megatrends identified here (urbanization, littoralization and connectedness) will affect every aspect of life on the planet in the next few decades, and will not solely affect conflict. Caerus Associates’ systems design approach for developing urban resiliency and mapping conflict[iii] and the IBM Smarter Cities project[iv] are two examples of businesses and civil society organizations taking a holistic approach to the city as a system, and thereby seeking to anticipate and address the full range of future issues that cities will confront.

More broadly, the city-as-a-system approach described earlier can be applied as a methodology to identify how complex problems that may appear unrelated—rural soil salinity, urban crime, piracy and diaspora-sponsored terrorism, for example—interact with each other in the context of a given city or threat network. Taking this approach may allow planners to identify emergent patterns within the complex adaptive system of a relevant city, make sense of the system logic, and thus begin to design tailored interventions. These would begin in a consciously experimental way, seeking to identify and reveal the complex interactions between different parts of systems, and among systems nested in larger systems, but would rapidly increase in effectiveness, as each experimental intervention would generate new data that would enhance the effectiveness of the next.

The future conflict environment is likely to be characterized by rapid population growth, increasing urbanization, accelerating littoralization, and greater connectedness. The future of conflict—like the future of most things on the planet—is likely to be urban, littoral and networked. Thinking of the city as a system seems to make the most sense as a way to understand this environment, and the irregular, hybrid and nested threats that we are likely to encounter within it. The implications for the military and for civilian government are fairly obvious, but in broader terms a city-as-system approach may also allow urban planners, city managers, businesses and communities themselves to understand their environment and develop tailored interventions to deal with it.

We are still likely to experience wars between nation-states, and conflict in remote areas such as mountains, jungles and deserts will still undoubtedly occur. But the trends are clear: more people than ever before in history will be competing for scarcer and scarcer resources, in poorly-governed areas that lack adequate infrastructure, and these areas will be more and more closely connected to the global system, so that conflict will have immediate wider implications. The future is hybrid and irregular conflict combining elements of crime, urban unrest, insurgency, terrorism and state-sponsored asymmetric warfare—more Mumbai, Mogadishu and Tivoli Gardens—and we had better start getting ready for it.

David J. Kilcullen is the Chief Executive Officer of Caerus Associates, and the author of The Accidental Guerrilla and CounterinsurgencyThis post is excerpted from a forthcoming article in the Fletcher Forum on World Affairs.


[i] See Asian Development Bank, Climate-Induced Migration in Asia and the Pacific, September 2011, online at http://beta.adb.org/features/climate-induced-migration-asia-and-pacific

[ii] Widespread rioting and civil unrest in outlying and peri-urban areas struckParis (and several other French cities) in 2005 and again in 2007 and 2010, while large-scale rioting and looting occurred in parts ofLondon in 2011.

Urbanization and American National Security

It has long been the case that American foreign policy is most successful when it reaches beyond governments to societies (think Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin shaping French attitudes).  The diversification of major power centers in other countries will require our government to shift its focus away from making policy in capitols, simply because capitols will no longer be the place where decisions get made in other countries.  We are ourselves emblematic of this diversification, the separation of our seat of government from our financial capital having been a conscious one to prevent centralization of power.  Natural forces further diversified the geography of American society: entertainment centered in Hollywood; literature in Boston and New York; manufacturing in what is now, sadly, the rust belt; computers in silicon valley and Redmond, Washington.
But our foreign policies have not yet adapted to these changes.  It will not be adequate to talk to government ministers, yet that remains predominantly how we conduct our foreign policy.  There are over twenty cities of more than a million people in which our State Department has no representation; where there are Embassies, they are literal bastions of American power inhospitable (because of security precautions) to engagement with civic groups.  The Foreign Service spends nearly all of its resources on language training, yet the overwhelming majority of our diplomats lack the facility to participate in live debates in the native languages of the countries in which they are posted.  This is the result of a system that prizes generalists; the nature of change in the international order demands specialist skills that we neither recruit or develop in our diplomats.
While the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review acknowledges these shortcomings (even if it is somewhat breathless about the newness of developments that are not really new), State has not followed through with spending and managerial effort to redress them.  Moreover, State still treats shaping attitudes in other countries as a special skill — “public diplomacy” — rather than the most important reason for posting diplomats abroad.  As a society, we are predisposed to understand messy, small-ball mosaics of power and organization; as a government, we are typically too lazy or ignorant to operate that way.  That must change.  We must understand the complexity of other societies and navigate them effectively to build public support, not just engage the governments in power, if we want to remain successful in the international order Global Trends 2030 identifies.
A second major effect of urbanization for American national security will be in the area If you cancel yourappointment more than twice the driving permit fee will be forfeited. of immigration.  We have long been the beneficiary of other countries’ deficiencies, drawing their talent.  Richard Rosecrance identified in the mid-1990s the importance amidst globalization of winning the competition for talent.  Rosecrance argued that the online casino’s traditional elements of state power shifted with a country’s level of development, from controlling territory that produced commodities, to controlling trade that created wealth from manufactured goods, to enabling virtual corporations focused on product design, marketing, and financing (Rosecrance, The Rise of the Virtual State, Foreign Affairs, July/August 1996).  States with the highest level of development would compete for intellectual capital, a factor of production that cannot be compelled by force but must be attracted by opportunity and incentive.
Marx famously said that religion is the opiate of the masses; suburban life as practiced by Americans may likewise be an opiate of the masses.  That is, what most people in the world want is the boring pleasantness of their own house, spending their time taking kids to sports practice and discussing traffic or a local eyesore with their neighbors.  It has a pacifying tendency on behavior, but it is predicated on a standard of living, societal and governmental infrastructure that has been beyond the reach of most countries.  If people don’t need to leave other online casino canada countries to enjoy the benefits we have, we will get less of the world’s intellectual and entrepreneurial talent coming to us.
And immigration has been the way America compensates for our incapacities.  We import much of our scientific and technical expertise, overcoming the paucity of science education in our own children with the attractiveness of our higher education systems and job opportunities.  As the Economist cautioned in its reporting on London, so here: we are making policy choices that disincline people to choose us, whether because of our homeland security policies or nativist “lump of labor” ideas that jobs are limited and must be preserved from export.  As the rest of the world comes to have the urban and suburban advantages we enjoy, we need to end our complacency and get serious about competing for the world’s talent.  And we need to strengthen our own domestic base, most especially in education.
The third effect of urbanization I would note for American national security results from is who is modernizing: it is the so-called developing world.  As Amartya Sen has put it, the greatest beneficiaries of globalization are the world’s poor. Countries that are urbanizing are those that have been poor and are growing wealthy.  This is to be applauded, not only as a moral good, but as an expansion of opportunity for countries that may take a greater interest in global issues and have the resources to participate in shaping them.  The United States needs more countries to share the burden of sustaining the global order that has served and the world so well.  In the 1940s and 1950s, America believed decolonization would produce a wave of new allies for our policies.  On that basis, we refused Churchill’s pleas to sustain their empire, refused to support our closest allies in a war against Nasserite Egypt.  If we welcome the arrival of countries that have pulled themselves out of poverty, remain a voice for the truths we hold to be self-evident, and emphasize accountable governance, the international order of 2030 has the potential to be even more beneficial to American interests than the one we now enjoy.

Kori Schake is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She has served in a variety of positions with the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State, and the National Security Council staff. Her recent publications include State of Disrepair: Fixing the Culture and Practices of the State Department(Hoover Institution Press, 2012) and Managing American Hegemony: Essays on Power in a Time of Dominance (Hoover Institution Press, 2009).

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Urbanization and the Global Climate Dilemma

By Will Rogers 

Urbanization and climate change may be the two most important trends to shape global development in the decades ahead. On the one hand, urban cities have the potential to serve as engines of change, driving economic growth in some of the world’s least developed countries and pulling more people out of poverty than at any other time in history. On the other hand, climate change could undercut all of this by exacerbating resource scarcity and putting vulnerable communities at risk from sea level rise and more frequent and intense storms.

Today, roughly 80 percent of economic growth comes for urban centers. Much of this comes from what experts refer to as the “urban advantage:” cities typically concentrate the full spectrum of economic opportunities that are not readily available in rural areas. This includes everything from social services such as education and healthcare, more reliable access to water, sanitation services and electricity, to industries and transportation hubs that are lynchpins for commercial development.

Simply put, countries have more opportunities for economic growth as they urbanize. According to a 2010 study from United Nations Human Settlements Program, “The prosperity of nations is intimately linked to the prosperity of their cities. No country has ever achieved sustained economic growth or rapid social development without urbanizing (countries with the highest per capita income tend to be more urbanized, while low-income countries are the least urbanized).” Of course, how much a country benefits from urbanization depends on policies developed at the local level. Indeed, urban politics can make or break the benefits of urbanization if local policymakers fail to adopt policies that break down socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic and religious barriers.

Nevertheless, urbanization affords tremendous economic opportunities and most of the future benefits will accrue to the world’s developing and least developed countries. As Drew Erdmann wrote earlier this week, “For the first time in over 200 years, the majority of the world’s economic growth during this decade will occur in emerging markets, not the developed economies of the ‘West.’” This may help foster a modicum of stability in some of the world’s most unstable states, countries like Haiti, whose urban population is projected to expand from 52 percent in 2010 to 70 percent by 2030, according to United Nations statistics.

Yet climate change may ultimately undermine the economic benefits of urbanization in some parts of the world. Urban centers place substantially more pressure on natural resources than rural communities given their population density and the attendant demands on water, agricultural, energy and other resources. And although urban planners can apply innovative solutions to help manage these resource constraints – such as waste water recycling systems – climate change could exacerbate resource trends in ways that nbso online casino may hamper the effectiveness of these creative technologies, slowing or stalling economic growth in some of these emerging economic centers.

But the real climate challenge may stem from development in fragile areas along world’s coastlines. Indeed, many of the global megacities (those with populations over 10 million) are located on the coast: Tokyo, Jakarta, Shanghai, New York City, Mumbai, Bangkok and Lagos, to name a few. Their locations are borne out of necessity: 90 percent of global commerce is done by sea. So while urbanizing along the coastline allows countries to more easily tap into global trade, coastal cities may be vulnerable to sea level rise and more frequent and intense typhoons, hurricanes and other extreme weather events that could result from climate change.

Sea level rise could be particularly damaging to urban economic development. Surging seas can crumble coastal infrastructure, such as electricity systems and road online casino ways, and infiltrate ground water aquifers that supply city water and support local agriculture. Moreover, sea level rise may drive up insurance rates, driving people into bankruptcy while also creating socioeconomic gaps in some cities. These challenges are not abstract or distant either: one need only look to the south of Washington, to Norfolk, Virginia, where sea level rise has already dislocated some communities, while forcing city officials to invest millions of dollars to hold back the sea near the naval station.

Typhoons, hurricanes, nor’easters and other extreme weather events may become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change and pose dangers to urban centers. The density of some coastal cities portends extreme challenges for first responders and others charged with responding to weather-related natural disasters. Indeed, the scale of these disasters could be quite staggering, and may even overstretch the capacity of emergency personnel if they are not adequately prepared to respond. Although one cannot definitively point to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina as an example of climate change, the effects of the storm provide a vivid illustration of the magnitude that such a disaster could have in a densely crowded urban community. As a result of this reality, some large cities have started examining how climate change may affect them in the coming decades. In 2010, for example, New York City published its own study from the New York City Panel on Climate Change that looked explicitly at these challenges.

Even absent climate change, it is difficult to disregard the inherent vulnerabilities associated with densely crowded urban cities, particularly those along the coast. In his book, Monsoon, Robert D. Kaplan writes that, “[N]ever before have the planet’s most environmentally frail areas been so crowded,” particularly in countries like Bangladesh, India and elsewhere, where hundreds of millions of people are packed together at or just above sea level. “This means that over the coming decades more people than ever before, in any comparable space of time save for a few periods like the fourteenth century during the Black Death, are likely to be killed or made homeless by Mother Nature,” Kaplan observes.

Looking for Opportunities

There are some opportunities that U.S. policymakers and others can pursue to help dampen the impact of potential climate disruptions on urban cities.

  • Enhancing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Training: The United States should develop more robust relationships with countries around humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to help more vulnerable countries and their cities develop the institutions, tools and procedures for responding to natural disasters. This does not have to be just traditional military-to-military cooperation either. Fire departments and other first responder organizations from U.S. cities can exchange expertise with other officials in cities around the world. And some of this is ongoing already, whether it’s around flood or wildfire response, and may just need to be scaled up.
  • Improving Climate Change Science at the Local Level: Many countries do not have the tools or techniques to assess how climate change may affect their cities. As a result, there is a significant opportunity for the United States to bolster its science and technology cooperation with countries that will enhance their understanding of local level climate impacts. The United States could leverage its National Labs and others in academia to help support and develop sound climate science that will provide better fidelity about how climate change is projected to manifest itself in urban centers. Better projections will enable cities to become more resilient, which may also help dampen political and social disruptions.

The bottom line: U.S. officials need to analyze urbanization and climate change together. These two trends have the potential to shape global development in fundamental ways in the decades ahead. Understanding how these trends may affect each other will put policymakers in a better position for adapting to potential challenges and harnessing opportunities that will become present in the future.

Will Rogers is the Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a non-partisan national security and defense policy think tank in Washington. The views expressed herein represent his personal views and do not necessarily reflect the perspectives of any organization with which he is affiliated.

The national security implications of the new urbanization are profound.

To begin this Blog’s discussion of this critical topic, today we have three new contributions:

In “City as a System: Future Conflict and Urban Resilience,” David Kilcullen of Caerus Associates explores how the landscape of conflict will become increasingly urban and that strategists and operators alike should understand cities as casino online a system.

In “Urbanization and American National Security,” Kori Schake of the Hoover Institution discusses urbanization’s implications for American policy and practice, at home and abroad.

In “Urbanization and the Global Climate Dilemma,” Will Rogers of the Center for a New American Security argues that national security practitioners must view urbanization and climate change as two interlinked phenomena.

I hope that readers find the insights of these diverse perspectives stimulating.  More to come in the days ahead!

The new McKinsey Global Institute report Urban World: Cities and the rise of the consuming classargues “it is not hyperbole to say that we are observing the most significant economic transformation the world has seen. China is urbanizing on 100 times the scale of Britain in the 18th century and at more than ten times the speed.”

The report includes a map of the world’s shifting economic “center of gravity” to communicate graphically the historical trends in global economic power over the last 2000 years.

The EconomistThe Atlantic, and The Huffington Post, among others, have featured in their reporting this graphic representation of the historic shift in economic power.

Here is the map: NIC Blog – MGI – Shifting economic center of gravity

This map shows that for roughly from 1 AD to 1820 AD, online slots the world’s economic center of gravity remained relatively unchanged and balanced between East and West, then shifted dramatically toward Europe and the Users can view our la permit test Privacy Policy at any time by visiting: /what-is-the-wisegeek-privacy-policy. North America during the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, and later began to shift back toward Asia in the second half of the 20th century.  Significantly, “it has been in the most recent decade of 2000 to 2010 that we have observed the fastest rate of change in global economic balance in history.”  As the map highlights, the shift in economic “center of gravity” from 2000 to 2025 toward Asia, driven by in large part by urbanization, will be almost as significant as the “center of gravity’s” movement toward Europe between 1820 and 1913.

This time it is different!

By McKinsey Global Institute

A new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, Urban World: Cities and the rise of the consuming class,analyzes the massive wave of urbanization that is propelling growth across the emerging world in the coming decades. The research expands MGI analysis of the top 2,600 cities globally, including cities’ demographics, household structure, and incomes, and their contribution to activity and growth in different sectors, including buildings construction, port infrastructure, and municipal water supply. Highlights follow.

A wave of urbanization propelling growth across emerging economies is a welcome fillip for a world economy that continues to have pockets of acute fragility. The move to urban living is lifting the incomes of millions of people around the world. In cities, one billion people will enter the global “consuming class” by 2025, with incomes high enough to become significant consumers of goods and services. Around 600 million of them will live in only around 440 cities in emerging markets that are expected to generate close to half of global GDP growth between 2010 and 2025. We are witnessing incomes rising in developing economies faster and on a greater scale than at any time in history (Exhibit 1: NIC Blog – MGI – Urban World – Exhibit 1).

By 2025, urban consumers will inject around $20 trillion a year in additional spending into the world economy. Catering to the burgeoning urban consumer classes will also require a boom in the construction of buildings and infrastructure. We estimate that cities will need annual physical capital investment to more than double from nearly $10 trillion today to more than $20 trillion by 2025, the majority of which will be in the emerging world. How companies and governments react to the fastest shift in the earth’s center of economic gravity in history—will fundamentally shape their future prospects.

The additional consumption and investment that will be part of the urbanization story is a very large opportunity for businesses. But there will be challenges, too. The wave of new urban consumers in the emerging world is already driving strong demand for the world’s natural and capital resources. The global investment rate and resource prices have jumped and could rise further. Cities can be part of the solution to such stresses, as concentrated population centers can be more productive in their resource use than areas that are more sparsely populated. But if cities fail to invest in a way that keeps abreast of the rising needs of their growing populations, they may lock in inefficient, costly practices that will become constraints to sustained growth later on.

Urban growth is highly concentrated in just a few hundred cities and will continue to be. Our analysis suggests that just the top 600 cities by their contribution to global GDP growth to 2025—a group we call the City 600—will generate nearly 65 online casino percent of world economic growth in this period. Today, the City 600 is home to just over 20 percent of the world’s population but accounts for nearly $34 trillion, or more than half, of global GDP. Between 2010 and 2025, we expect the City 600’s combined GDP to nearly double to $65 trillion. But the most dramatic chapter of today’s urbanization story is the role played by the so-called Emerging 440. These emerging market cities in the City 600 will account for close to half of expected global GDP growth between 2010 and 2025 (Exhibit 2: NIC Blog – MGI – Urban World – Exhibit 2).

The incomes of these new consuming classes are rising even faster than their numbers are. This means that many products and services are hitting take-off points at which their consumption rises swiftly and steeply. Growth patterns will vary among products and services for three main reasons. First, as incomes rise, consumers choose where they spend the additional available income, and some products take off at lower incomes than others. Second, products and services vary in the shape of their adoption curve and On horoscope taurus today Monday, we’ll feature two sex experts to talk about sex and communication among couples. then in the rate of growth of mature, well-penetrated markets. Third, there are geographic differences in demand for cultural and demographic reasons.

Infrastructure needs will also vary between regions and among different categories. In this research, we focus on residential and commercial buildings, port capacity (due to rising container demand), and municipal water. We estimate that cities will need to construct floor space equivalent to 85 percent of all of today’s residential and commercial building stock by 2025. The capacity of ports to handle urban container traffic needs to rise by more than 2.5 times from today’s level. We expect municipal water demand in cities to rise by almost 80 billion cubic meters, equivalent to more than 20 times the water consumption of New York today and 40 percent above today’s global level.

Again, there will be differences across regions and infrastructure needs.Chinais likely to have a 25 percent share of urban municipal water demand growth and a share of nearly 40 percent of growth in global demand for urban building floor space to 2025. Africa and the Middle East will account for almost 14 percent of the global rise in municipal water demand in large cities, almost twice their share of urban GDP growth. Across all three categories, we expect Emerging 440 cities to account for roughly 60 percent of global demand growth to 2025, although the shares of individual cities will vary.

Differences between the consumption take-off points depending on the product or service underline the need for companies to understand their target markets in forensic detail. The top urban markets in different demographic segments (e.g., elderly higher income consumers; or new young entry-level consumers) as well as for different products (e.g., laundry care) and demand for commercial floor space and municipal water are all different (Exhibit 3: NIC Blog – MGI – Urban World – Exhibit 3). Indeed, on these five “hot spots” for growth, the likely top cities are in three different continents: Shanghai and Mumbai in Asia; Lagos in Africa: and São Paulo and New York in the Americas. So depending on the products they sell, and the segments in which they specialize, companies need to have a detailed knowledge of which cities offer the most promising markets.

Companies that understand the shifting urban marketplaces relevant to their businesses and build a presence early on with sufficient scale are likely to benefit from being the incumbent with better market access and higher margins. Yet, disappointingly, most companies are still not looking at cities as they calibrate strategy. A new McKinsey survey finds that less than one in five executives is making location decisions at the city, rather than the country, level—and respondents did not expect this low share to increase over the next five years. Even those companies that arm themselves with the detailed city-level knowledge to identify the most promising markets for their products then need to allocate resources efficiently and master the art of execution in diverse and rapidly evolving emerging markets.

The challenge for policy makers differs according to whether they are in cities in the developing or the developed world. In a nutshell, the task for the former is to manage growth in a way that avoids diseconomies of scale and builds the basis for sustainable economic performance. For the latter, simply maintaining a healthy rate of growth can be tough, particularly in the aftermath of recession. Many developed cities are aging and no longer attracting migrants. Instead, they have to seek new vigor from higher productivity, new business investors, and enhanced links with the urban dynamos of emerging regions.

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) is the business and economics research arm of McKinsey & Company. Its mission is to help leaders in the commercial, public, and social sectors develop a deeper understanding of the evolution of the global economy and to provide a fact base that contributes to decision making on critical management and policy issues. MGI works with leading economists, including Nobel laureates, who act as advisors on its research.

By Drew Erdmann

The 2012 London Olympic Games will begin later this month. While the world will focus on sport, this Olympic Games also reminds us that the cities of the world are in constant competition as well. The history of 2012 London Olympic Games will be as much a story of the City of London’s effort to remain a leading, globalized city in the 21st Century as about the Gold Medal winners. We see this in the aspirations for the redevelopment of London’s East End to the “re-branding” of London as a global hub for commerce and services to innovations in reusable and environmentally friendly venue design. London’s success is by no means inevitable. The Economist recently described London as both “the world’s most international city” and “a precarious brilliance.” Other rising cities are challenging London and Western cities for economic, cultural, and political influence. Symbolically, the London Games follow the 2008 Beijing Games and precede the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Although costly, the Beijing Games introduced the new Asian superpower to many in the world, and the Rio Games will undoubtedly help mark Brazil’s rise on the global stage as well.

The competition among such cities will continue in the decades ahead. The overall “megatrend” of increasing urbanization is clear, i.e., the world is becoming more urbanized literally every day. The implications are less clear. The blog’s objective for this week, therefore, is to explore the urbanization trends that will help define humanity’s history in the next twenty years and their implications for economics, governance, and security. Cities like London, Beijing, and Rio will be important characters in this history. Perhaps even more important, however, will be the host of new urban centers that are rising rapidly throughout the developing world.

This week’s blog hopes to provoke discussion and raise questions as much as provide answers. And the blog will feature diverse contributors to help stimulate this discussion. Picking up on Steven Weber’s plea to readers from 2 weeks ago, please take advantage of the “leave a reply” link to contribute to the discussion. The more voices and points of view the better!

Here are six observations to help jumpstart this week’s discussion of urbanization.

First, the pace of this era’s urbanization is unprecedented and it is already one of the most important forces reshaping the world. A future historian will likely point to the year 2008 as a historic turning point – not only because of the Beijing Olympics, but also because 2008 marked thefirst year in humanity’s history when a majority of people lived in towns and cities. As Edward Glaeser’s recent The Triumph of the City (2011) underscores, cities are one of mankind’s greatest creations, the centers for innovation, the prime drivers of economic development, and, as such, they will continue to attract hundreds of millions of the world’s poor as they seek a better life. The scale and pace of this change is hard to grasp. Around 1.3 million people will migrate to cities and towns every week for the next two decades, according to United Nations statistics. Most of this movement will continue in emerging markets, but transnational flows will be important as well.

Second, urbanization is driving the rebalancing of global economic power toward emerging markets, especially in Asia. This movement of people is a major driver of the rapid economic growth experienced in countries around Asia as well as parts of Latin America and, increasingly, Sub-Saharan Africa. Just as the developed economies of the West did decades ago, emerging markets are now capturing the huge productivity gains that cities’ concentration, economies of scale, and innovation afford and that. The implications are profound. For casino the first time in over 200 years, the majority of the world’s economic growth during this decade will occur in emerging markets, not the developed economies of the “West.”

Third, urbanization and the rise of new middle classes are two sides of the same coin.Estimates suggest there will be by 2025 more than 1 billion new consumers with incomes sufficient to purchase consumer goods beyond those needed for subsistence. More than 95% of these new “middle class” consumers will live in emerging market cities. Likewise, the majority of new high-income households – with annual incomes of over $70,000 (in terms of Purchasing Power Parity) – will be found in emerging market cities. This massive increase in urban consumers will drive a corresponding increase in demand for a full range of products and services from home appliances to telecommunications to automobiles to recreation (e.g., dining out, travel). New middle class consumer demand in emerging cities will thus be a major force in the global economy. This demand will, in turn, reshape business strategies, supply chains, talent and capital flows, and potentially regulatory regimes.

Fourth, urbanization will place unprecedented strains on resources and societies. If the pace and scale of the new cities’ growth in population and wealth is staggering, the resources required are no less so. Infrastructure investments will need to soar to keep pace. The McKinsey Global Instituteestimates that new physical capital investments in cities will need to increase over $10 trillion per year by 2025. That is equivalent to more than the combined current economies of Japan and Germany! The demands on natural resources and the environment will also be historic in scale and scope. At the same time, because cities can be relatively efficient, increasing urbanization does afford opportunities for improved resource productivity as well.

Fifth, urbanization will stress governance at all levels – local, national, and international. This is a corollary to the preceding observation. For instance:

  • Local and national governments the world over will struggle to provide basic services to burgeoning urban populations while maintaining some reasonable fiscal boundaries.
  • New middle classes will make demands upon their governments. We will likely see new middle classes in some countries seeking to extend their economic clout to greater political influence. At the same time, there is no inevitable alignment of interests among middle classes across national boundaries (i.e., an “outsourced” American job may be a stepping stone to the middle class for someone in Asia).
  • The flow of peoples from countryside to cities, and between countries, will pose their own challenges for governance at all levels (see, for instance, the recent Global Trends 2030 Blog entries related to migration).
  • The vast resources required to sustain urbanization will not only influence global markets in important commodities, but also place new strains upon governments. Consider, for example, the challenge of water scarcity in China. Given current trends, some basins within China will remain in surplus in the coming 20 years, while others will likely confront significant gaps between supply and demand. How will the Chinese government manage its water resources across its different regions? Many other governments will face analogous resource dilemmas.
  • Increasing urbanization, combined with this era’s global interconnectivity, will challenge how individuals define their own identities. Will people think of themselves first as citizens of a particular city or a country or a transnational Diaspora community? Or, as Chrystia Freeland suggested in The Atlantic last year, will we see the rise of a “new global elite”? Such a cosmopolitan elite could live inside gated communities – whether in Florida or Rio or Johannesburg – and share common education, experiences, and values with others of the same jet set class, but little with “fellow citizens” of their respective countries of origin. This could be an era defined by struggles to reduce inequality.

Sixth, urbanization will challenge our traditional approaches and tools for national security.The 20th century experiences of the Second World War and the Cold War, for example, still heavily influence the United States’ diplomatic footprint, alliance relationships, and intelligence capabilities. The 21st century’s rise of new urban centers in the developing countries and concomitant shift in economic power are already challenging these institutional legacies. Alliance relationships will be redefined and new ones forged. New capabilities will be needed. Diplomats will need to be deployed in new cities and able to engage with new kinds of players. Militaries around the world will need to prepare to operate even more in urban environments.

In sum, how well leaders around the world in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors comprehend this new wave of urbanization, identify its manifold implications, and then adapt institutions, norms, and practices to harness its potential will have a profound impact on the trajectory of international development, peace, and security in the coming 20 years.

Drew Erdmann is Principal in McKinsey & Company’s Washington, DC office. He previously served with the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Council staff. The views expressed herein represent his personal views and do not necessarily reflect the perspectives of any organization with which he is affiliated.