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For the first time in human history, a majority of the world’s population live in cities. Urbanization is an expression of increasing wealth and productivity. At the same time, the resource utilization of the urban residents and all of humanity, as it seems today, is unsustainable – and especially high is the consumption of resources in cities.
Despite the major challenges, not least the environmental ones, there are plenty of reasons for optimism as well. Urbanization presents challenges but also many opportunities. It enables efficiency, rationalization, planning, economies of scale and integration in ways that are impossible in the countryside. The consequence is that the political, economical and social significance of cities is increasing.
Sustainable cities are a concept that seeks to capture the opportunities of the challenges that urbanization creates. Sustainability means that growth today does not reduce the opportunities for growth in the future. But in order to develop sustainable cities, the conditions, tools and the will must be in place.
This report describes how far this process has come. The purpose is to describe sustainable cities from a global market perspective, highlight opportunities and obstacles in the market and discuss the roles and aspirations of Swedish companies in the international market. It seeks to capture the opportunities in the challenges of urbanization.