Sub-1 Million Cities will Lead the Urbanization Race, Megacities will Redefine Nation-State Economies

In the post on Global Megatrends of the Techade 2020-2030, we speak of the five major megatrends that will shape this decade. Asia’s economic profile surge due to higher spend capability, aspirational living needs, and faster access to data-led services, will be a key boosting influence.

Mass middle-class rising across the globe could cause two scenarios –

  1. Current and Emerging MEGACITIES WOULD SWELL – becoming bigger than many existing developed nations, verticalized and uber-connected as the aspirational middle-class moves in. These are cities with a minimum 10 million population. Asia will have >50% of these, and some like Dhaka, Delhi, Tokyo, Mumbai will be densest in the world.
  2. More interestingly, SUB-1 MILLION CITIES WILL SPRAWL – getting bigger at a faster physical expansion rate than the rate at which people will flow into them, by usurping adjacent semi-urban and rural clusters. Again, mostly in Asia and Africa.


Such growth, by devouring small pickets of cultural, lingual, and consumption-wise diverse clusters, will create the phenomenon of MASS URBANIZATION AND HYPER-PERSONALIZATION.


Booming Urbanization Equation

90% of urbanites in Asia by 2030

= 67% of the world population in sub-1 million cities by 2030

+ 43 megacities in 2030 (up from 33 in 2019)

= fastest growing small city GDP + USD 3 trillion of GDP per megacity

= More than 50% of global GDP between these two urbanization phenomena

= Major urban-rural economic corridors and trade

= Our biggest challenge to date – Sustainable urbanization


Opportunities: Smart cities, smart mobility, everything-as-a-service, e-governance, and tech-led equalization of opportunities

Technology At Play:

  • Integrated waste-to-fuel and resources management with more renewables, reverse grid integration of end-point energy generation, and resource productivity improvements using IoT and AI
  • Agritech enablement across agricultural value-chain to stop loss, boost yield, and transform agriculture into a profitable industry.
  • Connected, predictive, and intelligent mass personalization of services in a smart city model
  • Healthcare digitalization for self-assisted, virtual, robotic, personalized solutions

More on technology use cases in urbanization and personalization in our publication onMegatrends Shaping Future Tech Opportunities.

 For more on technology industry outlook and emerging technologies in 2020 and beyond, read our research onTechnology Sector in India 2020 – Techade the New Decade.

Do remember to contribute your views – we want to collectively build ideas on technological solutions that can address these emerging challenges.

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