Urban Threats

People move to cities for jobs and increased wages. Currently half of the world’s population lives in cities, and that number is expected to grow to two-thirds by 2050. Cities face unique threats from poverty and destruction of the environment. As cities continue to expand, problems facing the quality and safety of air and water, as well as the availability of water, create threats. Cities have to deal with disposing of waste and the energy required by city residents. It is essential to develop a strong infrastructure to manage the needs of people living in cities.


  • More people can lead to increased poverty without enough government resources.
  • High energy use in small areas creates air pollution, which is bad for health.
  • Car exhaust increases lead levels in the air.
  • Lots of trash and waste can cause health problems.
  • Building new structures can impact the environment and cause flooding.
  • Trees die due to pollution and development.
  • Animals lose habitats and face dangerous conditions.


  • Create new jobs to fight poverty
  • Involve the local community in local government
  • Improve energy use and transportation to reduce air pollution
  • Work together to reduce and dispose of waste and build better housing
  • Plant trees and increase green spaces

Source: Urban Threats
Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society.
Copyright © 2015-2017 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved

Back to top