World population is growing at an alarming rate. We have just reached 7 billion and many opinions say that we are going to be 9 billion around 2050 (from 9 to 10 billion in the worst case scenario, according to the UN) and that we are going to keep growing exponentially until we start to slow down around 2100 . There is – and will continue to be – a huge gap in growing rates between more and less developed regions. China, immediately followed by India, holds the fastest and highest growth and there will be aproximadely 5 billion people by 2050, only in Asia (about half of the world population).
Where does this come from?
The greatest cause of population growth does not lie essentialy in birth rates (Central and Easter Europe, some countries in Western Europe and Japan have very low fertility rates), but in the lessening of the mortality rate in many countries in the last century, caused by improved sanitation and medical advances, and a massive increase in agricultural productivity.
What are the impacts?
When there is a growing quantity of mass within the same area, the physic response is inevitable: redistribution of the elements, and thus increased proximity between them. Overpopulation will have a great impact in private life and need for cocooning, especially in urban scenarios. It will redefine or mutate several concepts regarding intimacy, proxemia, property and sharing. And therefore, Architecture, Design and Fashion (and mostly all areas that depend on Ergonomics) will need to adapt to this new reality and social dynamics. The other major impact – and with no less importance – involves food supply and energy resources, which have indicators that show a way much slower growth than the population they need to feed. This is causing an important disparity that will have serious repercussions in a near future like stressing scientific studies and migration fluxes. The levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and pollution can also be aggravated by the population expansion.
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