New city building runs parallel with the current urbanisation trend - but also with the increasing role developing markets are playing in the global economy. It is estimated that 400-500 newly built cities are in the pipeline over the next 30 years - all predominantly in developing markets. They are providing a platform to raise economic growth by opening new consumer markets and attracting investment; however, challenges persists - among them, their susceptibility to becoming ghost towns.
With 60% of the global population set to be urban by 2030, and existing cities splitting at their seams, new urban areas are being built to fill the demand for current and future population growth. Developing markets are leading the race, with China, India and Indonesia some of the key countries building new cities.
Planned cities come in different shapes and sizes and serve different purposes. Smart cities address the need for greater use of technologies in making cities more efficient; green cities focus on incorporating more flora and fauna to better integrate into the natural environment; industrial cities are often built for economic diversification and rudimental cities cater to the poorer economies lacking basic infrastructure (sewage systems, piped water etc).
New cities offer businesses untapped and unsaturated consumer markets to operate in. Some purpose-built cities come with special economic zones which can provide foreign businesses with numerous financial and non-financial incentives to better business environments.
China is the global giant of planned city building. While no concrete figures are available, it is estimated that around 400 towns and cities are currently being built or planned in China.
Several planned city projects have failed or have been unsuccessful in their bid to attract people and business. Cost remains a key issue, with numerous planned city projects the targets of the wealthy, while the poor must make do with slum-like living conditions.
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