How Companies Are Transforming Overpopulated Cities

Here’s the hard truth. We’re running out of room.

On average, 250 babies are born every minute. That’s 130 million new mouths to feed every year. By 2100, there will be 11 billion people on this Earth, with each one demanding food, shelter, clothing and (ideally) electronics to live and thrive.

Populations are expanding, commodities are dwindling and the cost of living is rising. Little by little, we’re sucking the Earth’s resources dry.

Aside from accepting that we’re a parasitic species and creating a new plague, a more logical solution to this problem would be to spread out, and establish communities on land that is currently unoccupied.

But instead, we’re cramping ourselves into smaller and denser spaces, in the hopes of being close to the action.

As a result, by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities.

Already we’re starting to feel the strain. The streets are closing in with shimmering high rises looming over us and struggling shopfronts vying for our attention. In some cities, a ray of sunlight can barely peak through. Meanwhile, the roads are congested with increasingly disgruntled drivers sitting bumper to bumper, and shoebox apartments are being sold for millions.

Even walking down Swanston Street is now an exercise in Tetris, with dozens of distracted shoppers crashing into you at every turn. Just by looking at the sea of people and branded shopping bags it’s clear that we’re consuming and breeding at a rate never before seen. And for anyone looking for personal space, the city is not the place to go.

If we’re to continue this way, we need to work on creating sustainable, comfortable spaces for humans to coexist. Or as some have deemed it, ‘smart cities’.

Singapore, a tiny island nation, is already hard at work on this problem.

Only 50 years ago, Singapore was a largely flat expanse of land with no natural resources of its own. But with the help of tech-focused companies and their investors, they’re now one of the most glamorous infrastructure and technology hubs in the world.

As of 2016, the government has invested S$4 billion in Singapore’s smart future, which will support a number of start-ups and multinational companies looking to develop Singapore into the world’s most efficient city.

So far they have become world-leaders when it comes to vertical farming, allowing them to save space and completely transform how agriculture is done. And just this year, vertical farm Sustenir Agriculture was able to produce Singapore’s first locally grown strawberries, making the company a market sensation.

Singapore is also looking to implement the world’s most expansive drone delivery service, with drone company Airbus having conducted a trial for their Skyways package delivery service last year. As Airbus chief technology officer Alain Flourens optimistically confirmed:

Safe and reliable urban air delivery is a reality not too distant into the future, and Airbus is certainly excited to be a forerunner in this endeavour.’

Across the ocean, Canada is also looking to revolutionise the way we live in cities.

The Canadian government has joined with Sidewalk Labs, a partner of Google, to transform the eastern end of Toronto’s waterfront. They have been given $50 million to redesign the area into a smart-city that is more efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly.

Sidewalk describes it as ‘the world’s first neighbourhood built from the internet up’ and will essentially be a digitally connected city that collects data for the purpose of streamlined urban life.

Whether you regard it as an Orwellian nightmare or hyper-connected paradise is solely up to you. But the reality is that societies around the world are shifting ever closer to the flashing, technicoloured city scape Blade Runner predicted.

And it’s the perfect opportunity for inventive companies to swoop in and take advantage of the ever-present need for a solution to overpopulation.

Why you shouldn’t buy the mainstream’s negativity

Right now we are being bombarded with negative headlines about the state of the markets. The political climate is uncertain, cryptos have fallen from grace and tech stocks are crashing like there’s no tomorrow. This week Apple’s CEO Tim Cook even warned investors to expect lower revenues which caused Apple stock to drop by almost 10%.

Yes, prices are low right now. And even the strongest players have fallen victim to the relentless tirade of trade war negotiations, inflation and political tensions.

But using volatility and negative sentiment to your advantage could procure highly sought-after gains in the long-term. Because often going against your gut and the mainstream mentality can mean finding opportunities that many others have missed.

Looking around the globe it’s clear that certain companies are still working diligently behind the scenes to create the groundbreaking innovation that we won’t be able to live without in the future. So instead of letting the pessimism render you overly cautious and paralysed, it’s better to look to the niche areas in which development is still flourishing.

A good place to start is small-cap editor Sam Volkering’s latest research on a Canadian industry that is currently defying expectations and booming exponentially.

Despite everything that is happening with global trade and the world economy, picking the right stocks in this area could mean jumping over this market slump and coming out on top with long-term gains.

Remember, it’s a new year and a fresh start for the economy. So keep your head up, be patient, and you have the potential to find your way out of this market tunnel.

This week in Money Morning

The Port Phillip Publishing office was closed for the holidays on Monday and Tuesday, but here are the rest of this week’s summaries:

You don’t have to make money to be a stock market winner. Or, as Harje clarified on Wednesday, you don’t have to make money immediately to be a stock market winner. Investing is about the long-term. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use the volatility to your advantage, particularly when it comes to tech stocks…

To learn how, click here.

Global trade is falling. Late last year, exports for most countries were getting weaker or declining, which is in part due to the US’s trade war with China. But it’s also a result of certain countries getting better at producing commodities themselves. And as Harje wrote on Thursday, this means declining trade could be a continuing trend in 2019 and beyond.

To find out how to prepare, click here.

Then on Friday, Harje covered the future of ride sharing. Right now, Uber is the big daddy of ride sharing. But soon they might not be. Google’s Waymo is a ride hailing business limited to Phoenix, Arizona for now. But with their fleet of driverless cars, they could soon surpass Uber’s long dominant business model…

To read the full story, click here.

All the best,

Katie Johnson,
Editor, Money Weekend

Money Morning is Australia’s most outspoken financial news service. Your Money Morning editorial team are not afraid to tell it like it is. From calling out politicians to taking on the housing industry, our aim is to cut through the hype and BS to help you make sense of the stories that make a difference to your wealth. Whether you agree with us or not, you’ll find our common-sense, thought provoking arguments well worth a read.

Money Morning Australia is published by Fat Tail Investment Research, an independent financial publisher based in Melbourne, Australia. As an Australian financial services license holder we are subject to the regulations and laws of Corporations Act and Financial Services Act.

Money Morning Australia