World Maps ///
Fossil Fuels /// Within the next twenty years, the fossil fuels crude oil, natural gas, and coal will reach their maximum production levels, after which they will begin to decline, while global energy demands rise. Mobility and energy supply will become considerably more expensive, which will lead to a change in settlement structures. Production sites, however, will profit by steadily increasing revenue until their resources have run dry. Due to the foreseeable depletion of the respective local natural resources, nowhere else is a preventive antishrinkage policy more opportune than here, as implemented today for instance in Dubai or Aberdeen.
Desertification /// More than half a billion people currently live in deserts. Due to rising temperatures and a lack of rainfall, as well as overexploitation, overgrazing, deforestation, and incorrect irrigation, existing desert regions are expanding. The decline of agriculture is causing the rural population to flee into cities. However, desert cities exploit local water resources, jeopardizing their future water supply. In addition, the subsistence economy provides slum dwellers with only few opportunities, resulting in poverty and undersupply.
Heating and Cooling /// Unequally distributed global warming is leading to a changing energy demand for buildings through a reduction of heating demand (heating degree days) as well as an increase of cooling demand (cooling degree days). Local population development aggravates climate-induced changes, as many regions in the cooler north will presumably lose population, while zones in the warmer south will record strong population growth.
Flooding /// Today, forty million coastal city dwellers are potentially endangered by flooding and are frequently shielded from it with extensive protection measures. Because of the climate-induced rising of the sea level by up to one meter, an increasing number of storms, as well as population growth and the subsidence of cities, the number of those affected by flooding is anticipated to rise to approximately 150 million by the year 2070.
Ice, Snow, and Permafrost /// The expected decline in snowfall in temperate zones by 60–80% by 2080/2010 will mean that numerous winter sports resorts will lose their means of existence. It is expected that the glaciers that have been investigated so far will lose an average of 60% of their volume by 2050. In regions with thawing permafrost soil, land subsidence and decreasing soil stability is causing damage to buildings, roads, pipelines, etc.
Population /// According to the United Nations, should current trends continue, the world’s population will stabilize at about nine billion by ca. 2070, when growth will come to a halt. Urbanization processes, in particular in the most populous countries such as China and India, will also be largely completed; more than three quarters of all human beings will live in cities. In the future, the population will not only temporarily decline in countries in Eastern and Western Europe as well as Japan, in fifty to a hundred years, it will also decline in countries such as China, India, Nigeria, and Mexico, where populations are currently growing.
Deurbanization /// While in the twentieth century, old industrial bases were primarily affected by shrinkage, in the twenty-first century, these could be office districts and distribution centers (shopping malls). Processes of rationalization and relocation in the service sector as well as changing standards could lead to decreasing demand and vacancy at many locations. Regional population decline, an aging population, and the increasing cost of mobility in the future can also lead to the shrinkage of suburbs, which is currently occurring in Japan, Northern England, and Germany. The population decline in about one third of all suburbs in the United States, however, is so far primarily caused by progressing suburbanization into suburbs that are further and further away from the central city.
Water Shortage /// A secure water supply has always been a necessary condition for the emergence and growth of cities. Yet more than a billion people are currently suffering from a lack of drinking water. In upcoming decades, the water shortage will get considerably worse worldwide and become a more signifi cant problem than the decline in oil supplies. Besides population growth and increasing per capita consumption, causes for this are, among others, the local reduction of rainfall volumes within the scope of climate change, the depletion of sustainable water resources, and increasing water pollution.
Polarization /// The development of cities is becoming more and more polarized into winners and losers. In the old industrial countries, population and economic activity are becoming increasingly concentrated in the large urban high-density areas, while the rural peripheries are depopulating.