Should Study Urbanism

Turns out, human networks are important—and the biggest knots of them are in cities.

A combination of urban planning, design, architecture, and sociology, urbanism takes an interdisciplinary look at how people who live in towns and cities interact with their built environments.  What’s at stake?  Human networks.

As Margaret Mead said, “A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again.”

Let’s take a closer look at five reasons you should study urbanism—the study of cities, and how they—and the people in them—tick.

1. Cities are population centers

Over half the world’s population lives in cities—at least 54 percent as of 2014.  By 2050, that number is expected to hover near 70 percent.  In 2014, the United Nations predicted that China, India, and Nigeria will see the largest urban population growth.

Where are the most populous cities?  Asia currently has over 53 percent of the world’s urban population.  Europe follows with 14 percent, and Latin America and the Caribbean carry a combined 13 percent.

Also of note: currently, there are 28 mega cities with populations higher than 10 million inhabitants.  Where are they?  Asia has 16 mega-cities, Latin America has 4, Africa and Europe each have one, and there are two in North America.

The UN predicts that the world will have at least 41 mega-cities, each with a minimum of 10 million occupants.  It’s no surprise then that universities around the world offer relevant Master’s degrees. Study Urban Management in India, Urban Design in Scotland, Architectural and Urban Studies in Turkey, or Planning in Australia.


2. Be part of something big

To study urbanism is to play a role in how the planet demands—and uses— resources.  The rise of urban populations (see #1) contributes to a rising need for resources for housing, food, and transportation.  Are those resources renewable or not?

In cities, environmental, economic, and social sustainability need to be addressed and planners are turning to smart solutions for smarter cities.  This requires input from an educated public, places for people to live and work, technology for people to move around, and resources for thoughtful growth and development.

Want to be part of creating a sust