Courageous leadership and ‘people-first cities’ in
a polycrisis world
People across the planet are grappling with the effects of multiple overlapping challenges. COVID-19, climate change, social inequality, supply chain disruptions, persistently high inflation and the probability of recession pose significant obstacles to advancing healthy societies and building climate resilience.
Cities concentrate these challenges but also may hold the key to overcoming them.
Despite cultural shifts that have altered the way we live and work, cities continue to flourish. Today, more than half the world’s population (55%) lives in cities, up from just 30% in 1950. And by 2050, this figure is expected to soar to 70%, with an estimated 2.5 billion people migrating to urban areas over the next 20 years.
People First - Video transcript
The post-COVID environment brings new challenges:
We think of this confluence of events as a polycrisis:
a cluster of risks whose compounding effects
exceed the sum of each part.
And cities concentrate these risks.
Today, more than half the world’s people live in cities.
By 2050, 2.5 billion more people will migrate to urban areas.
2023 will be a defining year
as businesses and municipal leaders wrestle with this polycrisis.
Executives are reimagining the role of their organizations,
putting the well-being of their people first.
Leaders increasingly recognize the strategic imperative of
creating value from values
and profit from solving the world’s problems.
We call it being a net-positive company.
“We ask ourselves a very simple question:
Is the world really better off because your company is in it?”
Our people-first platform helps organizations
navigate the transformation
as cities and businesses remake themselves
to become people first.
Explore how 2023 can be the start of a new era
for healthier, more sustainable cities,
and discover how businesses can thrive
by being net positive.
Download part 2 of our series,
and stay tuned for more!
People first: The future of cities post-COVID
Although we see constant speculation about their future, cities will continue to be the centers of wealth, prosperity, creativity and innovation.
Developing nations will likely dominate megacity growth over the next decade; however, the COVID-19 pandemic also impacted developed nations. Although cities remain at the heart of the human experience, we saw movement out of economic hub cities into smaller cities, driven by remote and hybrid working and climate-change risks.
Throughout history, pandemics have shaped how people relate to cities. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception, highlighting systemic issues touching every aspect of urban life — from access to health, education, and public space, to commerce and economic activity, to social inequality and interconnectivity. Employees are calling on both the private sector and governments to create a healthier society that supports well-being alongside economic prosperity and improved information technology.
People First: The Future of Cities Post-COVID is a platform about well-being in the broadest sense and is built on three pillars: physical resilience and well-being, safety for oneself and loved ones, and financial health and prosperity.
—David Anderson, Chief Commercial Officer, Mercer
See how leaders are reimagining the role of organizations in thriving amid polycrisis by promoting healthier and more sustainable cities.
The second article in our three-part series includes:
Stay tuned! There’s more to come from Mercer and our Marsh McLennan colleagues.
Fill out the form to get our recent report on cities.