The future is urban... but is it sustainable?
For decades, warnings have been issued: the burgeoning human population will outgrow the planet’s capacity to sustain us. The formula seems simple. More people equals fewer resources and greater environmental damage.
But today, we have a more nuanced understanding of the population-environment connection. We know that the relationship between human beings and the environment is complex, mediated by systems of production and consumption. And we know that population growth is not the only demographic change that matters: age structure and population distribution also shape environmental impact.
In other words, the planet’s “carrying capacity” is not just about human numbers, but about how people live, and where...