Cities of the future: Urbanisation, megacities and how we will live in the future

In ASEAN alone, there are 20 cities with over 1.5 million citizens. From 2017 to 2030, South-east Asia’s urban population will grow by 100m people to 373m. In 2030, four cities – Bangkok, Manila, Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh – will have populations of over 10m people, while Kuala Lumpur will be close and Singapore is projected to have around 7m people.

What are the challenges of promoting productive, inclusive and sustainable urbanisation? How can cities be engines of development? What are the implications at the city-level for climate change, including mitigation and adaptation? How can businesses thrive in these cities?

Event chairman

Sumana Rajarethnam

Sumana Rajarethnam is the South-east Asia director of the Economist Corporate Network based in Singapore. Sumana works closely with network members to help inform their business strategies through political, economic and operational insight and to connect them with their senior leadership peers.

Sumana is a senior policy professional with 17 years of business advisory experience, nine of those as an analyst, principal and director with the EIU from 2011-2020. He has most recently been working in the Chinese technology sector, including stints at Kuaishou Technology and ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok.

Before joining The Economist Group, Sumana worked as a journalist and in public relations with a focus on government and institutional clients. He served as executive director of the Asian Dialogue Society, working to develop an alternative ASEAN Charter with leading policymakers, and organised the “Building a Better Asia” series, a programme for young leaders across Asia undertaken with Peking University and the Nippon Foundation.


Times below are shown as GMT+8

08:00 – 08:30 – Doors open and registration

08:30 – 09:00 – Opening presentation

09:00 – 09:45 – Panel discussion

09:45 – 10:00 – Q&A and networking

Event Details




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