Shell then matches the answers against global development information on 500 cities around the world, from Rio de Janiero in Brazil to Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Chongqing in China. Each person can then find the city that best suits the way they want to live.

Clearly, the discussion about the shape of our future cities needs to include individuals, companies and governments.

Shell, for example, has partnered with local authorities in several cities to help them explore new approaches to sustainable urban development. During one project in Marikina City in the Philippines, the Scenarios team examined the many challenges facing the city including frequent flooding that threatens lives, infrastructure and electricity networks.

Working with the local government, the Scenarios team recommended measures to help make Marikina more resilient. These included installing solar panels on rooftops, a new gas-fired power plant and the development of parks and other green areas to help absorb heavy rains during the monsoon season.

Shell also researched ways to improve life, and the economic potential, of Surat, in the West Indian state of Gujarat. The recommendations included more dedicated walking routes between public transport hubs to reduce the use of private vehicles, as well as steps to lower pollution through greater use of natural gas for transport instead of petrol and diesel.

We all need to talk more about sustainable urban development and the challenges our cities face. Let’s work together, so that the world’s future historians will be able to report that the century of the city improved people’s quality of life, rather than diminished it.

City Resilience Study - challenges and opportunities for Marikina City

View the original article on the National Geographic website