Planet Earth, currently home to 7.7 billion people, will have to cope with an extra two billion souls by 2050 and a total of up to around 11 billion by the end of the century, according to a UN report published Sunday.

Within the same 2050 time frame, Israel’s population — the fastest-growing in the developed world, increasing by two percent annually  — is set to almost double from the current nine million to 17.6 million, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. And that’s in a dot of a country, just a little bigger than New Jersey in the US or Wales in the UK, that already has one of the highest population densities in the West and rapidly depleting open space.

Like many countries facing exponential growth, the Jewish state is trying to grapple with the implications and, following massive social protests in 2011 over the cost of living, of housing in particular, the government has been focusing on the need for a massive number of new homes.

In 2017, having set up a new bureaucracy to fast-track planning and cut red tape, it approved the construction of 1.5 million housing units by 2040.

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