The Past and Future of Cities

Cities have grown exponentially during the last 50 years, all incorporating—in some way—the lessons and technologies of those that came before them. Whereas only 37% (1.3 billion) of the global human population lived in urban areas in 1969, today that figure has increased to 55% (4.2 billion), with further urban growth projected at 68% (6.7 billion) by 2050.[1] Close to 90% of this growth will take place in Asia and Africa. But not all urban areas are destined for unabated growth. Those vulnerable to natural disasters or severe economic instability may see major population losses, as residents seek out locations with fewer crises and improved education, employment opportunities, health services, and housing.

The 10th World Congress Begins in

2019/10/28 08:00:00

On a building scale, the manifestation of the contemporary skyscraper is a collective accomplishment—one that has experienced several wholesale evolutions over time. Whereas back in 1969, at the formation of the CTBUH, the tall building was predominantly a technical challenge, now it is, arguably, more of a social challenge—how does it fit in with, and enhance, society? With the technological barriers towards height now largely addressed, an emphasis is being placed on making more humane, smarter, greener, more efficient skyscrapers that are better integrated with their cities, and better stewards of the urban environment. But much still needs to be done.

We now face a critical juncture in time, amidst major change in the typological status of tall buildings, the cities they call home, and the people that inhabit them. The CTBUH 2019 10th World Congress will directly address critical issues in the future progression of our cities, drawing the most important lessons from the past. All relevant issues—including urban planning and infrastructure; smart technology/automation; resilience and climate change; passive environmental strategies; tall timber structural systems; modular construction; inter-/intra-building transportation; the future of the workplace; building modeling; and many others—will be explored.

[…] and a call amongst members to determine the 50 most innovative tall buildings of the past 50 years, and the top 50 innovations likely to arise over the next 50 years.

The Congress will also host regional programs in New York City and Toronto as well as major Program Tracks on themes relating to the overall conference, ranging from wind engineering to steel advances. And, being the Council’s 50th year, there will be several special events leading up to the Congress and at the event itself, marking this important occasion. These include the formal Congress / 50th Anniversary Dinner; the establishment of a new CTBUH Landmarks committee, with the first Tall Building Landmarks announced; and a call amongst members to determine the 50 most innovative tall buildings of the past 50 years, and the top 50 innovations likely to arise over the next 50 years.

In conjunction with its 50th anniversary, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) will host its 10th World Congress in Chicago—the birthplace of one of the first skyscrapers and home of the CTBUH headquarters. Focusing on the theme 50 Forward | 50 Back, the Congress will explore the most significant advancements in tall buildings and cities from the last 50 years, whilst inquiring into the future of our cities 50 years from now. Register for the CTBUH 2019 World Congress and engage in the conversations that will shape the next 50 years of our urban planet.