McKinsey & Company

McKinsey on Society


Voices Cities

Urban squatters save the world

Stewart Brand
The Long Now Foundation
January 2011

Cities have always created wealth, and have always been a population sink. Still, a world now more than half urban and headed toward 80 percent urban by mid-century is something new in history.

An audio interview with Ayesha Khanna

Mary Kuntz
February 2011

As the world urbanizes, the first smart cities with state-of-the-art networking and monitoring technology are beginning to open for business. To find out what life will be like in a place where everything from your health stats to your workplace is constantly monitored, we turned to Ayesha Khanna, managing partner of Hybrid Realities, an advisory […]

When cities rule the world

Parag Khanna
New America Foundation
January 2011

The 21st century will not be dominated by America or China, Brazil or India, but by The City.

At home in the aerotropolis

Greg Lindsay
Fast Company
John D. Kasarda
University of North Carolina
February 2011

Rather than banish airports to the edge of town and then do our best to avoid them, the authors believe we will build this century’s cities around them.

Let’s build cities for people (not cars)

Richard Register
Ecocity Builders
January 2011

How big can cities get? Only if we start building them will we begin to learn the answer.

Talking back to your intelligent city

Saskia Sassen
Columbia University
February 2011

Rather than retrofitting old cities, the buzz today is about building entire smart cities from scratch in a matter of a few years.

China’s cities in the sky

Jonathan Woetzel
McKinsey & Company
January 2011

China now has a historic chance to reinvent not only its cities but the very idea of a city. The choices that its city leaders make will shape not only its buildings but also its society, and indeed the world.

Going up: Vertical transportation in the 21st century

James W. Fortune
Fortune Consultants, Ltd.
February 2011

In the city of the future, the most important transportation system will not be cars, buses, subways, or even futuristic monorails. It will be the elevator.

Planning China’s megacities

Sean C. S. Chiao
February 2011

Nothing about megacities should be organic or left to chance; they must be planned and managed in a careful and innovative way.

City photos from our readers

What Matters Staff
October 2012

We asked our readers to send us photos of life in their city. So far, we’ve received scores of responses from around the globe showing much in common among these far-flung locales, as well as great differences.

Cities alive!

Dickson Despommier
Columbia University
January 2011

While the walls may have come down from today’s urban centers, encroachment is still their mantra.

In the markets of the meta city

Robert Neuwirth
January 2011

Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities on the planet. Yet it is set on an infrastructure that was meant for a far, far smaller place.

What’s the biggest limit on city growth? (Hint: it’s not steel or cement)

Richard Dobbs
McKinsey & Company
Jaana Remes
McKinsey & Company
February 2011

Managing the opportunities and challenges of cities is both vital and urgent as global urbanization rushes ahead on a dramatic scale.

Voices on Society topics

  • Entrepreneurship Without Boundaries

    Entrepreneurs are solving complex societal challenges across the globe. It’s happening “at the table” within established organizations, “off the grid” on difficult terrain, and “on the web” in the digital world. Across this spectrum, we often find Millennial entrepreneurs leading the charge.

  • How We Give

    Distinguished experts and donors share new insights on global giving trends and propose solutions to barriers that inhibit individual philanthropy aimed at improving social outcomes.

  • The Art and Science of Delivery

    Delivery is both an art and a science. We think the art is in the innovation and adaptability of the actors and different delivery models, while the science lies in replicating and scaling those models.

  • The Socially Conscious Consumer

    How the global rise of socially conscious consumers can help drive environmental and economic sustainability.

  • Financing Social Change

    Across the globe, innovative new tools are helping fund social change.

  • Beyond advocacy – business needs to get its head in the gameJobs for the young & restless

    Youth around the world have been particularly hard hit, registering disturbingly high unemployment numbers.

  • Social innovation

    Can fresh thinking solve the world’s most intractable problems?

  • Social entrepreneurs

    Can social entrepreneurs create large scale change?

  • Cities

    As the global population becomes increasingly urbanized, what will the cities of the future look like?

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