Asegurar nuestro futuro urbano

NUEVA YORK – Al final de este siglo, diez mil millones de personas habitarán nuestro planeta y de ellos 8.500 vivirán en ciudades. Podría ser un asunto propio de pesadillas, pero, con las suficientes voluntad, visión y creatividad políticas –junto con algunos sencillos y prácticos cambios normativos– podríamos crear ciudades de sueño.

Las ciudades son conglomerados de poder económico y social. Impulsan el desarrollo nacional y mundial al concentrar conocimientos técnicos, ideas y recursos en una sola localidad, pero el desarrollo urbano rápido entraña un costo muy elevado. Al ampliarse las ciudades, se tragan tierra que, de lo contrario, se utilizaría para la producción de alimentos. Reducen los suministros de agua, representan casi el 70 por ciento de la utilización mundial de la energía y producen más del 70 por ciento de las emisiones de gases que provocan el efecto de invernadero.

Para que el crecimiento mundial sea sostenible y equitativo, debemos modificar el equilibrio entre la urbanización rápìda y el incesante consumo de recursos que entraña. Ése es un objetivo principal de la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Desarrollo Sostenible, que ha advertido sobre las presiones sin precedentes que el desarrollo económico impondrá en los próximos decenios a las infraestructuras (en particular el transporte), la vivienda, la eliminación de desechos (en particular, de las substancias peligrosas) y los abastecimientos energéticos.

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