December 04, 2014
In 2008 the rural/urban balance tilted: for the first time half the global population was living in urban areas and the tide of people leaving the countryside (see graph below) continues strongly. Currently 3.5 billion people make their homes in cities and many more commute from rural areas to work there. By 2030, according to the United Nations, 4.9 billion people—or 60% of the projected world population—will be urban dwellers.
Coping with these massive shifts of population and increases in density poses enormous social, economic and environmental challenges.
Every issue of this magazine has examples of nickel’s relevance to urban life and this time the focus is sharper than ever on one of the most time-consuming and often stressful aspects of city life: getting around. It isn’t just the ability to move from home to work and back but also the quality and reliability of the experience that many of us question every day.
But the world increasingly looks to cities for a combination of shelter, employment and the social, community and cultural elements that collectively constitute our quality of life. Drawing on examples from Australia, Europe, Japan and North America this issue of Nickel gives large and small examples of how nickel is contributing to making a healthy and sustainable life possible in an ever-increasingly urbanised world.