As Peter Herrmann reminds us in the fourth article of this issue, we currently face
societal abundance versus increasing inequality of access. Referring to different studies,
he concludes that the following trend is indisputable: in 2015, just 62 individuals had
the same wealth as 3.6 billion people. The wealth of these 62 people has risen by 45
percent in the five years since 2010. The wealth of the bottom half fell by just over $1
trillion in the same period, amounting to 38 percent. Finally, since the turn of the
century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1 percent of the
total increase in global wealth. This trend will not only determine the chances for
processes resulting in sustainable urban development all over the globe, but also the
main challenge of the development toward overall sustainability of human existence
on earth. For example, the shielded and armed residential areas of the super-rich in
Rio de Janeiro pave the way for unsustainable societal relations in this megacity.
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