Global overview

Nearly half of the world's population (47 per cent) lives in urban areas, a figure which is expected to grow by 2 per cent per year during 2000-15 (United Nations Population Division 2001a). The accumulation of people, their consumption patterns, travel behaviour and their urban economic activities have a large impact on the environment in terms of resource consumption and waste discharges. However, cities also offer opportunities to manage a growing population in a sustainable way.