Summary: Land Use


Land only takes up 29% of the Earth’s surface, of which 29% is not habitable. Of that, roughly half was used for agriculture in 2019, while forests and shrubs combined for just under the other half. Unfortunately, a rising urban population threatens to destroy ecosystems around the world, as cities will be forced to expand. That is, with our current methods of dealing with urban population increases.

The Earth has a limited amount of land, but we need more space for food production and urban expansion. To make room for these, we’ve been destroying ecosystems. Currently, we’re expanding our cities much faster than urban population is increasing, indicating that we’re building large houses along the city limits instead of preparing for future population growth with smaller units.

It’s not just about future population growth. In 2020, an estimated 1.6 billion people lived in inadequate housing conditions, equivalent to over 20% of the global population the same year.

Building taller, instead of falling back to urban expansion is the only way to house increasing urban populations without converting natural areas. Not only would it help protect surrounding green ecosystems, it would also save loads of resources that are usually required by urban expansion.

Apartment buildings can free up space for urban green areas as well, which can significantly improve air quality and storm water runoff. In turn, that can help large cities save hundreds of millions of USD every year.