Today, more than 50 percent of the world lives in a city. By 2050, that number is expected to climb to 70 percent.

As our cities continue to grow, so do the challenges they face: increased pollution and waste; increased demands on ageing infrastructure; a growing need for affordable housing; a widening socio-economic gap; and a changing climate that sees the costs for clean air, water, and more continue to rise.

Cities have long been labs for innovation. So, while these challenges continue to stack and increase in complexity, they also represent one of the most compelling opportunities in a generation to reimagine the way society lives, works, and plays --moving our cities from climate problems, to climate solutions.

And thankfully, cities have an ace up their sleeve: forests.

Built and run on solar energy, forests are home to the most technologically-advanced material and processes we have. They provide building materials, innovative compounds and components, essential products, renewable energy, and air and water filtration all in one convenient package.

As such, forests represent the most effective, scalable, and sustainable ‘technology’ we can employ as we rise to meet the challenges of a rapidly urbanizing population. Working in partnership with other renewables, bioenergy is helping us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Wood skyscrapers made from mass timber are reducing the use of carbon intensive materials in our buildings. And wood and fiber based packaging is increasingly replacing the use of plastics and other non-renewable materials in the products we rely on every day.

If we embrace a bioeconomy that prioritizes natural, renewable, and sustainable alternatives for everything from the essential products we use day to day to how we power our lives, we have the potential to not only reimagine our cities, but rethink our climate future and build a lasting connection between society and the importance of taking care of our greatest natural resource: our forests.

Read the full article about climate change threatens cities at Smart Cities Dive.