February 23, 2021

Urbanization: About Smart Cities, Co-Living, And More

Buildings are getting higher, apartments smaller, and the streets more crowded – more and more people are moving into the big metropolitan cities. According to the United Nations more than two-thirds of our population will be living in urban areas by 2050. This means 7 billion people in total, so exactly the number of people who are living on our planet today. This will deeply affect how our cities will look like in 30 years and we can already see some of these developments and urbanization trends today.

What Is Urbanization All About?

Urbanization describes the shift of people moving from rural to urban areas. In 2007, society hit the breaking point where the number of people living in cities was higher than the number of those living in the countryside. Urbanization affects almost every part of our lives: our housing concepts, how we commute to work, where we get our groceries and necessities from, and also how we interact with each other. Obviously, the global pandemic also has an impact on many of these developments. The rise of remote work and the growing relevance of one’s home as a place of retreat may push back some of the urbanization developments but the next months will show how lasting these impacts are.

Globalization and Urbanization

When talking about urbanization, globalization is also an important aspect to consider. Globalization describes the convergence of societies around the world and the growing interdependence between nations and markets. Due to the progress in transportation and communication technology since the 18th century, the trend has been accelerated tremendously. It is not uncommon – before the pandemic turned our world upside down – to work for a Japanese company in their German office while being on a business trip in New York, having Italian pizza for lunch while jumping on your next business call with a Swedish colleague on your mobile phone produced in Taiwan. People travel and also relocate around the world and even more, professionals are expected to move and live abroad in other industrial metropolises for some time to expand their intercultural skills, which contributes to the growing number of citizens there even further.

Urbanization in Different Parts of the World

Looking at the stats and the changes from 1960 to 2017, 77.26% of the German population lives in urban areas, the relative change is comparatively low with 8% over time. In comparison, the urban population in the U.S. has a share of 82.06%, but the urbanization rate is even at 17% meaning that the urbanization trend is more present. When looking at Asia, there are tremendous differences from country to country: While the urban population in a city state like Singapore is at 100%, it is at 91.53% in Japan, 81.50 in South Korea with a plus of 194%, and only at 33.60% in India with a relative change of 87%1. As you can see in Asian megacities, the biggest challenges are in mobility, logistics, and housing, but also waste disposal, water availability, high energy consumption, and air quality are huge challenges to solve. How can all citizens commute to work every day? How can goods and necessities be delivered in time when everyone orders their clothes via express delivery? Where do all these people live? How is it possible that most households watch TV simultaneously at night via Netflix after having a takeaway dinner that only took 40 minutes from the order call to the doorstep delivery? Even though these issues might not be as severe and obvious in every part of the world right now, we can already see where we’re about to be heading in a couple of years in many other regions as well. To sum it up: There certainly is lots of room and potential for innovation.

The Need for Innovation

The upside of all these challenges that come along with urbanization lies in the variety of different opportunities for new businesses and creative ideas. Existing companies, especially large corporations, are struggling to keep up with more flexible and dynamic startups offering electric cars for the transport of passengers and goods at the same time, serviced apartments with a family feeling, or machine learning SaaS platforms to manage smart cities. We have looked into promising startups for different aspects of urbanization.

These B2C Startups Help to Tackle the Challenges in the Mobility Sector

Jump-Starting Electromobility With Einfach E-Auto

Einfach E-Auto helps people get started with electromobility. The startup from Munich provides advice on choosing the right vehicle and answers questions about charging infrastructure and subsidies.

Clean Urban Traffic With Unu

The Berlin-based startup Unu has developed a scooter with a clean electric motor and portable battery for traffic in urban areas. All scooters can be customized online and are delivered to the doorstep ready to ride.

The Future of Flying by Wingcopter

Wingcopter from Frankfurt provides vertical take-off and landing delivery drones that reduce the time to access supplies from days to hours. The German manufacturer holds the Guinness World Speed Record of 240 km/h and is able to fly along programmed routes.

These Are the Hottest B2B Startups in the Mobility Sector

The Future of Electric Mobility With Adaptive City Mobility

Adaptive City Mobility started as a German Government Lighthouse Project for Electric Mobility. The Munich-based startup developed a combination of a light and multipurpose electronic vehicle, an energy solution that works without fast chargers, and a digital platform that helps fast and profitable scaling of electric fleets.

Less Parking Traffic With Cleverciti Systems

Using big data and sensor technologies, Cleverciti Systems from Munich guides drivers to the most convenient parking lots in order to reduce search traffic and CO2 emissions.

Optimizing the Last Mile With Tiramizoo

The startup tiramizoo from Munich offers an innovative logistics platform for the last mile optimization. The company’s SaaS solution improves transport efficiency, optimizes resources, and reduces CO2 emissions while saving costs for its customers.

These Startups Are Tackling the Challenges Arising From High Energy Demand

The Gridx Platform to Leverage Energy Potential

gridX from Aachen provides solutions for corporations to increase the efficiency and potentials of their energy systems by connecting spread energy resources in one platform. Their goal is to build the necessary infrastructure for the energy revolution.

Infrastructure Monitoring by LiveEO

The Berlin-based startup LiveEO provides infrastructure monitoring from space with the help of satellite imagery for railway, pipeline, and electricity infrastructure to save operational expenses by observing dangers.

Meteoviva Helps Buildings to Save Energy

The SaaS solution of MeteoViva allows customers to smarten up their buildings with smart data and full control with the help of a monitoring system. The startup from Juelich allows organizations to save energy and CO2 emissions.

These Promising Startups Offer Solutions for the Shortage in Housing

Fully Equipped Apartments by Homefully

The startup Homefully from Frankfurt offers modern, fully equipped apartments that offer new, innovative co-living concepts to young people with a community-feeling in Germany and Switzerland.

Modern Co-Living With Medici Living

The Berlin-based startup Medici Living offers a portal for co-living offerings in all major Dutch and German cities. People can find fully furnished apartments downtown with all-inclusive pricing.

Flat-Hunting With Nestpick

Nestpick from Berlin offers a search engine for furnished apartments, rooms, and student accommodation worldwide targeting expats and students who are relocating and searching for mid- to long-term housing.

Are you curious to discover even more trends and additional startups?  Download the complete trend report below to take a deep dive into “Six Startup Trends That Will Shape the Decade”!

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