Often drivers of national economies, cities typically generate an important portion of the national output and employment. They concentrate talent and resources. They are hubs of trade, culture, information, and industry. They encourage innovation and foster synergies among different economic sectors.
As such, the productive potential of cities is enormous, and urban life has raised the standard of living for many. Especially in the context of a globalized economy, cities are better equipped to take advantage of the opportunities presented by globalization.
What is more, sustained economic development has been widely recognized as key in fighting against the biggest threat to humanity today: climate change. Economic development facilitates poverty alleviation and increases the productive base of a city, which in turn reinforces the city’s adaptive capacity against climate change. Cities, both principal generators of economic activity and biggest polluters in the world, must lead the way for the fight against climate change
Sound Social System and Healthy Environment:Bedrocks of Economic Prosperity in a City
But how can cities enjoy sustained economic development? To be able to welcome and nurture economic prosperity, cities must start with cultivating or maintaining a suitable social and natural environment.
On one hand, cities need a stable social system in place to offer an appealing business and working environment that can attract and retain first-rate talents and skilled workers as well as encourage entrepreneurship. Competitive cities must also have effective policies for remedying inequalities, which, if left unattended to, could deter economic growth by creating social inst ability that leads to a less favourable environment for investment.
On the other hand, the natural environment in cities must just as vigorously be maintained to provide clean and pleasant living conditions for its inhabitants and minimize their negative impact on the larger global environment. Furthermore, reducing the carbon footprint of cities is vital in the global battle against climate change and in striving for a healthy environment for the future, without which any type of development—economic or otherwise—would be impossible in any sustainable way.
Cities: Leading the Way for a Better Future
Against this backdrop of an epoch in which cities have an increasingly indispensable role in ensuring a healthy future for the rest of the world, EXPO Shanghai 2010 will examine the components and dynamics of economic prosperity in cities. It will demonstrate that the most competitive cities of today and tomorrow are those able to integrate in their overall strategy economic objectives with environmental and social objectives, as economic prosperity largely influences how a city is able to cope with climate change in our urbanized world.
At a time when our planet is facing a critical turning point for the future of mankind, the international community must come together. EXPO Shanghai 2010 will provide a global forum to share experiences and exchange best practices for its participants, diverse in backgrounds yet united in the global battle to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for all.