Sustainable innovation drives the future of cities, says MIT researcher

Sustainable innovation drives the future of cities, says MIT researcher

Sustainable innovation is an essential part of developing the cities of the future, according to a top MIT researcher.

Wei Pan claims that urban density is one of several trends that are facilitating new sustainable business models with a connection that she calls “social-tie density”.


Dense cities

Pan believes that the number of interactions people have is directly linked to the density of a city; as the city’s density increases, so do the number of interactions. A direct consequence of this is that the city will be more innovative and produce more patents.

Business models that provide gateways to stimulate economic growth come about because of the demand for new ideas and technologies to match consumer behaviours. In this way, the future of the development of any city is driven by, and reacts to, the number of people who live in it.


Sharing City

Seoul, in South Korea, is one of the most densely populated cities in the world and is a perfect example of Pan's assertion.

South Korea’s Innovation Bureau launched Sharing City in September 2012. The project revolves around creating and investing in infrastructure aimed at helping Seoul’s 10 million residents to share resources and use sharing economy business models.


Innovation and leadership

Using new digital technologies and corporate training methods can be a vital part of any sustainability programme.

More than that, large companies now know that being seen helping create a better social environment can give them value in the eyes of consumers.

Many business leaders now know the value of integrating sustainability into the way their businesses are run. The new breed of CEOs knows that a company can look beyond shareholder gains and take part in creating sustainable cities with stable economies.


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