Our challenges

Setting the agenda

In 2008, for the first time in history, the global urban population outnumbered the rural population. This milestone marked the advent of a new ‘urban millennium’ and, by 2050, it is expected that two-thirds of the world population will be living in urban areas. With more than half of humankind living in cities and the number of urban residents growing by nearly 73 million every year it is estimated that urban areas account for 70 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product.

In an industrialised society, buildings and the movement of goods and people between them account for two-thirds of energy consumption. As a result, cities contribute to about 70 per cent of global CO2 emissions. “There is plenty of evidence to suggest that cities can be designed to be both productive and clean. Stockholm has reduced its emissions by 35% from 1993 to 2010, but grew its economy by 41%, one of the highest growth rates in Europe.

– SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

These two statements set the agenda for ‘our’ challenges, being faced by our modern cities and towns.

The next 25 years will see a continued revolution in communication technologies and radical changes in the ways in which we generate, consume, and buy energy, but relatively little attempt is currently being made to accommodate or plan for these events. At the same time communities are diminishing and social value is at an increasing and ever widening divergence. Both of these factors are set against the worldwide backdrop of continually rising urban populations.

MCAU is passionately committed to designing schemes and strategy which minimise environmental impact, optimises low carbon and renewable energy, and strives to create opportunity for community to establish. We believe it is our responsibility to strive in everything we do to mitigate the effects of climate through our design solutions and to also have a positive social impact on the built environment.