The Future of Work and Cities

The Future of Work and Cities

Urban life in the twenty-first century will be shaped profoundly by urbanization, automation, and climate change, a report from the Aspen Institute's Future of Work Initiative and WeWork argues. Based on a survey of thirty thousand residents of fifty cities in eighteen countries, the report, The Future of Work and Cities (HTML or PDF, 45 pages), found that urban workers were optimistic about local economies and communities but concerned about housing, infrastructure, and walkability. Roughly two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2030, despite the threat posed by warming global temperatures, rising sea levels, and increased carbon emissions — exacerbated by longer commutes due to a lack of affordable housing. In forty-five of the fifty cities included in the survey, the largest share of respondents gave their city a low score on housing quality and affordability, while more than a third of all respondents — and nearly half of the residents of Sao Paulo, the Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. — said they were considering moving in the next two years. In addition, 70 percent of respondents agreed that their city should develop a plan and strategy to move to 100 percent clean energy and be carbon neutral by 2030. The survey also found that although more than half of business decision-makers said that automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will change the way they hire workers in the next five years, fewer than one-third of workers believed their jobs will be replaced by automation.

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April 21, 2019