Urbanisation And The Rise Of The Megacity

“Mass urbanisation, the increasing concentration of populations into towns and cities, is one of the defining characteristics of industrialised economies. By the middle of the 20th Century the two biggest economies, the USA and Japan, had created a new urban phenomenon: the megacity. By 2025, seven of the world’s top ten megacities will be in Asia”. BBC

A megacity is an area with over 10 million people.  The megacities of earth are Beijing, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Calcutta, Delhi, Dhaka, Istanbul, Karachi, Lagos, Los Angeles, Manila, Mexico City, Moscow, Mumbai, New York City, Osaka-Kobe, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

Earth Lights NASA

Rural To Urban Migration

“The earth’s countryside is emptying out, more quickly all the time. It took about 10,000 years [8] for the human population to become 3 percent urban [9] — a period extending roughly from the dawn of human settlement until 1800. A century later [10], Earth was still just 14 percent urban. But in 2007, the United Nations announced we’d crossed a monumental threshold. For the first time, more than 50 percent of the world lived in cities rather than rural villages and farms. By 2030, some projections [11] say more than 80 percent of humanity will be urban, with many inhabiting the slum-choked cities of the developing world.” CBS News

Let’s take a look at Asia and South America.


“Among these megacities, The World Bank says Dhaka, with its current population of 15 million people, bears the distinction of being the fastest-growing in the world [3]. Between 1990 and 2005, the city doubled in size — from 6 to 12 million. By 2025, the U.N. predicts Dhaka will be home to more than 20 million people — larger than Mexico City, Beijing or Shanghai.” CBS News


“In Shanghai there were no skyscrapers in 1980; today it has twice as many as New York. Between 1990 and 2004 developers erected 85m sq m of commercial space in the city – equivalent to 334 Empire State buildings.

Nationwide, China’s construction industry employs a workforce of about 37 million.

Nearly half the world’s steel and cement is devoured there, and much of the world’s heavy construction equipment has relocated to the People’s Republic. Tower cranes, for example, have become the ubiquitous symbol of urban China.”  BBC


A favela is a shanty town.

“The monthly minimum wage here is still just R$545 (US$326), paid thirteen times for an annual income of R$7,085 (US$4,384). The U.S. federal minimum wage, by comparison, is US$7.25 per hour; or US$15,080 annually.

In the U.S. we have upper, middle and lower-class distinctions, with some gray areas in-between of course. In Brazil they have Class A through D, represented as: Classes A/B – 14.97 percent, Class C – 53.2 percent, and Classes D/E – 31.83 percent of the population” Rio Times


“Perhaps because of the international success of the Brazilian film ”City of God”, for many the word favela is synonymous Rio de Janeiro, more so than São Paulo. But Brazil’s largest city struggles with the same challenges, and the census at the turn of the century recorded that a third of the city’s population were living in the over 600 favelas within and around the city.

The most visible difference between favelas in São Paulo and Rio is the geography, and the lack of surrounding hillsides blanketed with the slum communities. The other major difference is that São Paulo’s rapid expansion is relatively recent, where as Rio experienced it’s first major growth of favelas in the 1940s.” Rio Times


“According to the 2001 census, the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires (AMBA) is made up of a population of approximately 12 million people. This makes the AMBA one of the largest urban agglomerations in the world and the third largest agglomeration in Latin America, following Mexico City and Sao Paulo.”  AABA


Based on the estimates, 80% of the earth population will be living in these urban agglomerations by 2030.  One plus side to this is as urban growth increases, population growth will decrease.

The earth population in many areas is increasing faster than the planet can accommodate.  Natural resources of fresh water and food are limited in many geographic areas on this planet traversing the cosmos.

Personally, I do not like major cities.  I visit them for various reasons each year, but I prefer to live in my country house between small hamlets. I like to look out my windows and see nature not concrete, glass, steel and automobiles with city clouds of dust and fumes. I like fresh air.

 G. D. Williams       © 2011







The Rio Times





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