Articles, Blog

Urbanization and the future of cities – Vance Kite

August 14, 2019

Today ,more than half of all people in the world live in an urban area. By mid-century, this will increase to 70%. But as recently as 100 years ago, only two out of ten people lived in a city, and before that, it was even less. How have we reached such a high degree of urbanization, and what does it mean for our future? In the earliest days of human history, humans were hunter-gatherers, often moving from place to place in search of food. But about 10,000 years ago, our ancestors began to learn the secrets of selective breeding and early agricultural techniques. For the first time, people could raise food rather than search for it, and this led to the development of semi-permanent villages for the first time in history. “Why only semi-permanent?” you might ask. Well, at first, the villages still had to relocate every few years as the soil became depleted. It was only with the advent of techniques like irrigation and soil tilling about 5,000 years ago that people could rely on a steady and long-term supply of food, making permanent settlements possible. And with the food surpluses that these techniques produced, it was no longer necessary for everyone to farm. This allowed the development of other specialized trades, and, by extension, cities. With cities now producing surplus food, as well as tools, crafts, and other goods, there was now the possibility of commerce and interaction over longer distances. And as trade flourished, so did technologies that facilitated it, like carts, ships, roads, and ports. Of course, these things required even more labor to build and maintain, so more people were drawn from the countryside to the cities as more jobs and opportunities became available. If you think modern cities are overcrowded, you may be surprised to learn that some cities in 2000 B.C. had population densities nearly twice as high as that of Shanghai or Calcutta. One reason for this was that transportation was not widely available, so everything had to be within walking distance, including the few sources of clean water that existed then. And the land area of the city was further restricted by the need for walls to defend against attacks. The Roman Empire was able to develop infrastructure to overcome these limitations, but other than that, modern cities as we know them, didn’t really get their start until the Industrial Revolution, when new technology deployed on a mass scale allowed cities to expand and integrate further, establishing police, fire, and sanitation departments, as well as road networks, and later electricity distribution. So, what is the future of cities? Global population is currently more than 7 billion and is predicted to top out around 10 billion. Most of this growth will occur in the urban areas of the world’s poorest countries. So, how will cities need to change to accommodate this growth? First, the world will need to seek ways to provide adequate food, sanitation, and education for all people. Second, growth will need to happen in a way that does not damage the land that provides us with the goods and services that support the human population. Food production might move to vertical farms and skyscrapers, rooftop gardens, or vacant lots in city centers, while power will increasingly come from multiple sources of renewable energy. Instead of single-family homes, more residences will be built vertically. We may see buildings that contain everything that people need for their daily life, as well as a smaller, self-sufficient cities focused on local and sustainable production. The future of cities is diverse, malleable, and creative, no longer built around a single industry, but reflecting an increasingly connected and global world.


  • Reply Anthony Curanaj March 2, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    this make me wanna read that book on the future lol

  • Reply Atom Nous March 3, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Flat Earth

  • Reply themutantlizard March 7, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    I like small towns but I hate cities

  • Reply duncan sim March 13, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    # millar storm is here

  • Reply duncan sim March 13, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    miller storm 2017

  • Reply Arené Lomax March 21, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    And along came the internet, providing work from home. So long traffic congestion and cubicle incubators!

  • Reply Sajid Berríos Quiñones March 24, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Bullshit video

  • Reply Lan Anh Hoang April 19, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Confidence is too great when the problem is not resolved

  • Reply Kako Mohammed April 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    This won't happen…wars and wars,thirst for oil will make humans go crazy

  • Reply Nico Zheng April 30, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Stop right there and stop evolving city because rooftop garden is bad for you and you can get food from farm idiot!!!!!

  • Reply James XU May 2, 2017 at 2:39 am

    good video

  • Reply neil breen May 23, 2017 at 1:10 am

    do you even learn bro

  • Reply neil breen May 23, 2017 at 1:12 am

    the girls voice is annoying

  • Reply CarlosIsDown June 9, 2017 at 3:58 am

    0:10 did not realize a lot of people lived in the Gulf of Alaska.

  • Reply Jonathan Romero June 9, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I hope the world turns out like that

  • Reply Joshua O June 21, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    What I wondered was why only white people were shown throughout the history of mankind….

  • Reply Shounak Bagchi June 29, 2017 at 2:37 pm

  • Reply gooseguse July 7, 2017 at 3:57 am

    1:45 …or slaves helped.

  • Reply Omar Abdul Aziz July 10, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Does this mean more deforestation?

  • Reply Ray Rocher July 12, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    great, but lots of variables. food supplies are hard to account for surpluses and shortages. farming is hard work and it tires the soil.

  • Reply Poop Gate July 26, 2017 at 11:16 pm


  • Reply Taye Barlow August 29, 2017 at 6:44 am

    very educational but I like Pauline Hanson better

  • Reply Bowers August 29, 2017 at 6:47 am

    very informative

  • Reply airborne RC August 29, 2017 at 6:48 am


  • Reply henrz August 29, 2017 at 7:06 am

    my teacher made us watch this

  • Reply JS Media August 31, 2017 at 6:46 am

    i like chicken

  • Reply Noah Matthews August 31, 2017 at 6:56 am

    this is noice

  • Reply David Schmitz September 1, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Isn't she from minute earth?

  • Reply Mystir Kitty September 8, 2017 at 3:50 am

    What about crime and war, orator. You utopian dreamers need to get sick!

  • Reply Jay September 12, 2017 at 2:46 am

    do us a solid and get a better bloody voice you peanut

  • Reply Arthur Pietro Nogueira September 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Capitalism will never let that happen, sorry guys.

  • Reply Felicia Betancourt September 17, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    The watercolor illustrations are lovely!

  • Reply Quốc anh Trương September 29, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    who can help me vietsub this video ? please

  • Reply Elemental Gaming,Chemistry,and Programming October 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    whittier,Alaska is only 1 building

  • Reply i want yum October 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm


  • Reply Rango October 8, 2017 at 10:30 pm


  • Reply mukesh jain October 15, 2017 at 9:13 am

    It does not relate with the subject urbanisation but tells how was early cities and now modern cities

  • Reply Noor Noor October 26, 2017 at 5:33 pm


  • Reply Louis Kozlow November 20, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    A few passionate friends and I started a blog on smart cities some weeks ago. We try to write and share articles a couple times per week.

    It would be greatly appreciated if you could have look, and maybe give us feedback !

    Thanks !

  • Reply Maarten van der Poel January 10, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Basically Judge Dredd

  • Reply Ben Chu January 17, 2018 at 11:21 am

    If we still had future.

  • Reply Star Cherry February 18, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I didn’t understand that part about the apartments

  • Reply owly February 19, 2018 at 5:35 am

    level 2 geo

  • Reply MrSniffleCat February 20, 2018 at 2:20 am


  • Reply H. Li February 23, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Wow 3:45 Tyrell Corporation is going to be on the red sea.

  • Reply Sammel Surium February 23, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    over twenty subtitle languages, but no german 😟

  • Reply chproductions February 26, 2018 at 2:54 am

    sub to me pls

  • Reply FreeMan4096 March 1, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    very naive

  • Reply My Channel:??? March 5, 2018 at 8:09 am

    why u gais rost her???!! she's thiccc……..!!

  • Reply Unknown March 6, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Why can't we all be together as humans, we act like different species from the next

  • Reply Elijah Davis March 7, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    We are studying migration and my teacher said this is a good video for us to watch

  • Reply Saad Khan March 9, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Click bait lol

  • Reply Md. Maksud-Ul-Kabir Rico March 16, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Who's the narrator?

  • Reply Alyssa Candyapple March 30, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I tried to watch on safari and it went to YouTube lost my other video 😢

  • Reply Glumbi Grashalm April 9, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Is this Uruk?

  • Reply Władca Wymiaru April 9, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    What we REALLY DO NEED is cheap, safe and abundant source of energy.
    Only thorium energy fulfills this conditions. Renewable energy? Poor joke…
    The rest is in humans hands…with cheap energy we can change the planet!

  • Reply Gritz April 19, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Eh id just place some neighberhoods if i were you
    And also some farms and fisherys if there are

  • Reply Jutlor Briolt April 20, 2018 at 12:28 am

    Humanity has come far from it's beggining, I hope I still live to see the future of what the next generation might bring us

  • Reply Nikita Nosov April 20, 2018 at 1:01 am

    so much info to try to squeeze in 4 minutes. Would love more resources regarding this.

  • Reply Bill Huang April 23, 2018 at 9:50 am


  • Reply PiRaiKaChu April 23, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    School brought me here

  • Reply YaboiDrizzyDrew May 8, 2018 at 11:30 am

    666th comment

  • Reply Department of Analytics May 11, 2018 at 2:56 am

    but 10.000 years ago, our ancestors began to learn the secrets of selective breeding and early agricultural techniques
    for the first time, people could raise food rather than search for it, and this led to the development of semi-chronic backaches and other annoying illnesses.

  • Reply Tommaso Cairone May 21, 2018 at 3:00 pm


  • Reply Joned Rahadian May 23, 2018 at 6:27 am

    sounds like block'hood

  • Reply Lucas Gong May 25, 2018 at 5:19 am

    This history is from European standpoint. Many other areas have the other progress of cities. Particularly, many Asia countries had better infrastructure than Euroup's before the Industrial Revolution.

  • Reply Dreamerboy May 27, 2018 at 6:46 am

    why schould it be vertikal forms ?

  • Reply Rem Ar May 31, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    I'm in the future, back in 2013.

  • Reply kitez opo June 15, 2018 at 5:55 am

    Not suitable for Closetrophobic!

  • Reply Altan Davaz June 16, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    I clicked to see predictions, not a history lesson about cities.

  • Reply Kevin Kurz June 23, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Man-kind can also go back to the dark ages. Our future depends on our constitution. Once the constitution in gone, the technology we know to day will be gone too. It happened to the Greek empire, also the Roman Empire and it will happen to us, it’s a question of time. Just remember that.

  • Reply John Wayne July 26, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Here's is the link of my article on bad effects of urbanization which might provide you some food for your thoughts:

  • Reply Finn Mikutta August 8, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    dab lol

  • Reply Snowman 雪人 August 16, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Clearly cities are not for Australia 4:08

  • Reply Spencer Duncan September 19, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    who else watched this for school?

  • Reply Ryan Koning October 4, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    0:29 Can I get a rip in the chat?

  • Reply LTG Awesome October 26, 2018 at 3:06 am


  • Reply diego diaz November 2, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    my mam

  • Reply Gun November 4, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I love Ted-Ed videos, but this is the first one I have disliked. Almost no lesson was thaught.

  • Reply frisk and some blob from SCP foundation November 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    What we need right now is efficient and adaptable cities, next we need safe and eco friendly cars, space mining, ecological science advancements, and big progress on space travel to build an interstellar civilization

  • Reply Lee Gerra November 14, 2018 at 12:43 am

    This is silly

  • Reply k0rzza November 18, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    You people are supposed to study rn but instead of studying you are watching YouTube. But i'm here to study because my teacher gave this link to me and write about Urbanization.

  • Reply Trunks November 27, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Geography homework…

  • Reply Sanuka Kithnula January 12, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Eh You
    Why U no watch video and only read cmment
    Git back in there. !!!

  • Reply Kenny McCormick January 13, 2019 at 2:08 am

    Too many people we need to go back to the good old days

  • Reply MJruling January 31, 2019 at 1:01 am

    Can we think of ruralization for once? Is building a city with a boundary an answer to everything?

  • Reply LLAMA SQUAD February 20, 2019 at 10:59 am

    future looks nice with technology

  • Reply Abhishek Dev February 21, 2019 at 2:46 am

    It is Kolkata not Calcutta.

  • Reply Man of wonder March 2, 2019 at 8:57 am

    Roman were waste on earth

  • Reply Vinstral March 15, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Ricardo hello

  • Reply Vinstral March 15, 2019 at 10:40 am


  • Reply Knowledge Is Key March 16, 2019 at 1:03 am

    you forgot nz on the map

  • Reply Hawk13 March 20, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Bora fazer trabalho de geografia da Sandra

  • Reply Cyrisse Owusu March 25, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    My teachers making write a summary on urbanization

  • Reply sudhir Chauhan April 10, 2019 at 11:16 am

  • Reply Gwyn, Lord of Cinder May 6, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    I hate cities… I really hope this doesn't happen in my lifetime. I love the country air, less people, and having a real community with traditions and culture.

  • Reply Saloni Rani June 30, 2019 at 6:57 am

    We, as a responsible citizen, need to use whatever we have more efficiently & sustainably to reduce the human footprint on our nature so that more people can be accommodated in the urban areas.

  • Reply Metrix Cube July 16, 2019 at 1:39 am

    One day Earth is going to be like Coruscant

  • Reply julle huu July 18, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    growing weed in wertical buildings

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