Cities are the success story of the human race. In 1800, only around two percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas, by 2050 the UN predicts this figure will have risen to 70%. But with any great success comes challenges, and with increased urbanisation the demand for food, energy and water grows and pollution increases. If cities are to thrive in the future, we urgently need to find ways to relieve these pressures. It’s these pressures that Shell Ideas360 entrants have been looking to tackle.

Governments around the world are already beginning to take steps to help overcome these challenges. Three of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are to provide the world’s growing population with:

  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Zero Hunger

To encourage a switch to cleaner, more sustainable energy, France has pledged to ban diesel cars from Paris by 2024 and get petrol cars off the streets by 2030. In the UK, London is set to ban petrol and diesel cars from certain boroughs this year, while the government will put a stop to the sale of all petrol and diesel cars from 2040.

In Cape Town South Africa, when drought threatened a ‘Day Zero’ where water would stop running from the taps, water saving measures were introduced, for example a daily water allowance of just 50 litres per person. This has deferred the problem, but water shortages are still an issue worldwide, with one billion people living without access to a clean water supply.

Food shortages are also on the rise with the estimated number of undernourished people increasing from 777 million in 2015, to 815 million just a year later. While the problem is most acute in Africa and Western Asia, even in Western countries and cities, food poverty is on the rise. The Trussell Trust, which runs food banks across the UK, says that the number of emergency food parcels it has handed out has grown from 25,899 in 2008-9, to 1,182,954 in 2016-17.

As our cities are set to grow bigger, the problems they create can increase too. That’s why we need big, bright ideas to ensure the success of future cities. This is where Shell Ideas360 comes in, inspiring innovative solutions that help to build cleaner, more sustainable cities, while ensuring a supply of food and clean water for their growing populations.

Some of the ideas students have already come up with to help improve our urban environment include:

This is just a handful of all the bright ideas submitted to Shell Ideas360, but they are some examples of the myriad of ways we can help the cities of the future to flourish.

Register now to become part of the Shell Ideas360 community and find out how your ideas could help to build the cities of the future.