Urban areas are becoming more popular with each passing year; by 2050, it is projected that around 68% of the world’s population will live in cities. This shift to an urban residence majority makes for increased opportunities in business and lifestyle, but it also presents challenges when it comes to environmental protection and sustainability.

The impact of urban centers on the environment is largely negative. With rapidly-growing populations and increased demand for transportation, sustenance, and energy, cities that strive to accommodate their inhabitants risk increasing their carbon footprint and accelerating the decline of the planet’s resources. Keeping this detrimental potential in mind, city planners around the world have sought solutions to promote eco-friendly urban living solutions. 

Already, cities like Copenhagen, Denmark, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon have integrated eco-friendly practices and features to support growing populations as well as the environment. With features such as public transportation powered by renewable energy, bike lanes, and a heightened awareness of water consumption, these cities have made small changes that have a big impact. 

In order to be both sustainable and eco-friendly, a city must focus on its social, economic, and environment impact. Key features of a sustainable eco-city include food and water self-sustenance, minimized pollution output, and population growth accommodations.

The inaugural African Climate Summit in 2019 hosted discussions pertaining to climate risk and urban areas with sustainable cities being presented as a possible solution. Across the African continent, cities have begun adopting sustainable practices. Some nations, like Nigeria, have pledged to abide by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations; these goals include sustainable city and community design, affordable and clean energy, and climate action.

Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, which is already home to more than 24 million individuals, will host the Chagoury Group’s Eko Atlantic project; located on Victoria Island, Eko Atlantic will feature mixed-use buildings, green infrastructure, and world-class public transportation as a demonstration of sustainability in urban settings. Additional initiatives will include self-sufficient clean power supplies, an abundance of locally-sourced greenery, and innovative traffic solutions.

The future of urban development is sustainable. With sustainable, eco-friendly practices and designs, developers can improve existing cities in addition to creating new ones, thereby promoting a greener existence in urban centers in Africa and around the world.