The world population is set to explode, from 7.3 billion today to around 9.7 billion in 2050, with two thirds of those living in cities. As urban areas grow, emissions will grow along with them: between 67 and 76 per cent of global energy consumption takes place in urban areas, consumption that accounts for a huge amount of total greenhouse gas emissions.
The residencies are based in the dynamic area of Braamfontein, a hub for art, music and good food. Earlier that day I'd taken part in a 'market hack' just behind Neighbourgoods Market, with street stalls, demonstrations and activities for public audiences to try cutting-edge, creative electronic and design tools.
These images are based on commuting data released earlier this year by the Office for National Statistics and show the commuting links between different cities in London and the south east. The point here is that, seen in this way, London is very much the 'mega city' depicted by the late urbanist Sir Peter Hall in his study of urban mega city regions of Europe.
Helene Joffe, Professor of Psychology at UCL, has found that most people's aspirations for living in cities are for friendlier places, with more space and the ability to travel. Generally, we want to be able to travel to see friends and family, we want conviviality, good health, safety, and employment.
It is easy to be cynical about the Northern Powerhouse. Critics have already labelled it as tokenism, or an afterthought from the Conservative Party to appease concerns that it does not think beyond its traditional strongholds. But it is more than that. Furthermore, criticising the vision before it has even got off the ground is actually counter-productive in the long run.
The global climate change negotiations are coming to a close in Lima, Peru, and we have edged ever so slightly closer to a climate deal. In the coming days, commentators will (as usual) be divided over whether it was a success, whether negotiators did enough to prepare the ground for the next conference...
What culture will we find in the urban spaces of the future? How is meaning articulated in cities beyond the often empty rhetoric of efficiency and progress? Our team (see below) are midway through a project that looks at possible high growth towns of the future through the forms of play found there.
My first night in the city was spent on the forty-second floor of the Edifício Itália, the second tallest building in the city, but the highest place in town to get a drink. Overcast as it was when we arrived, the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows was somewhat unremarkable, but as we finished our caiprinhas, the cloud began to lift and the city unfolded beneath us.
Britain is rightly proud of its track record of job creation, but a successful 21st Century economy requires more. Ahead of the 2015 Election, it is time for all parties to face up to the changing face of the labour market, and set out their commitments to building a more sustainable, productive and robust economy that offers opportunities for all workers, and cities, throughout the UK.
When we asked people to give us advice about going to Brazil, everyone always mentioned Rio de Janeiro. Rio this, Rio that, just go to Rio. But no one really said much about São Paulo. It seemed like people didn't really go there much. As our cab weaved through traffic in São Paulo's city center, our virgin eyeballs take in the first impressions of this rarely recommended city.
The election itself will inevitably focus on issues that matter most to voters - from jobs and housing to wages and welfare. But it is less well recognised that the election in 2015 will be determined primarily in our urban areas, and that the fortunes of each of the major political parties depend upon how they perform in, and help support, UK cities.