Welcome to the June edition of Voices on Infrastructure, in which we focus on cities. Already, more than half the world’s population lives in cities, and millions more move to urban areas every year. To meet their needs and expectations, infrastructure is critical.
The problem, according to McKinsey research, is that the world is spending far less on infrastructure than is required to keep up with economic growth. Closing this gap, particularly in the complex urban context, will require ingenuity, dedication, and leadership. In this edition of Voices, we offer some of the best contemporary thinking on this subject. While McKinsey plays an important part in producing Voices, more than half the contributions represent the views of leading external practitioners, which are not always consistent with those of McKinsey.
City builders feature prominently. Fahd Al-Rasheed discusses the challenge of building a city from scratch, the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia. From China, Tian Jinchen of the National Development and Reform Commission describes China’s effort to create a modern Silk Road.
Mobility and access are critical elements of urban life. Architect and urban theorist Helle Søholt describes what makes public space great and how cities can achieve both mobility and civility. Jay Walder, head of a global bike-sharing company, reflects on how technology could change how people get around cities. Author Parag Khanna (video) maps the future of cities and examines how megacities are changing the world. McKinsey contributions include essay on how technology and social trends are changing urban mobility.
Governance is another important theme. Christopher Heathcote of the Global Infrastructure Hub provides an overview of how governments can encourage private-sector investment in infrastructure. John Means and Benjamin Barber, the founder of the Global Parliament of Mayors, examine how to harness the power of mayors. Michael Berkowitz (video) presents the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities.” Ashay Prabhu and Janna de Groot of Assetic, an asset-management firm, offer a practical approach that demonstrates how data can improve infrastructure productivity.
How cities evolve will be one of the defining features of the 21st century. We want Voices to be part of the conversation about how to do this—and invite you to join us.
Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
Director, McKinsey Global Institute