Five things to know about megacities Aaditi Joshi's piece, Untitled, asks viewers to think about the effect waste has on cities. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Florian Löbermann/Westend61/Corbis)
Five things to know about megacities
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Mumbai. Shanghai. Tokyo. Beijing. According to the United Nations, megacities housed approximately 12 percent of urban dwellers as of 2014. Megacities are areas with populations of 10 million or more.  Here are five things to know about what is likely the wave of the urban future.
  
There could be 41 megacities by 2030.
 
In 2014, the United Nations released a report. It was on the world's urbanization prospects. It showed incredible growth in terms of megacities. There were just 10 megacities in 1990. By 2014, that number had spiked to 28. But as urban populations continue to swell, the UN projects that humans will merge into a whopping 41 megacity regions by 2030. Look for up-and-coming megacities in the developing world, writes the UN. An additional 2.5 billion people are projected to be added to the world's urban population by 2050.

Megacities can wreak havoc on the environment...

With all those people living in urban areas, it's perhaps not surprising that megacities have an environmental impact. But the sheer scale of that impact is sobering. In a 2015 report on megacities' environmental impact, researchers from the United Kingdom and Germany rounded up existing research on the footprint of megacities. Their review found that megacities' most intense impact will be on the atmosphere. The world's largest cities emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases. And, they give off huge amounts of atmospheric pollutants. The huge cities are expected to emit even more as time goes on. In 2005, megacities emitted 12 percent of all of the carbon dioxide on Earth. That number is expected to grow by an order of magnitude as the century progresses.
 
...but they could one day be a force for environmental good.
 
The environmental outlook for big cities isn't all bad, though. The German Advisory Council on Global Change just released a report. It suggests that cities facing a huge influx of residents could transform into a source of environmental transformation. The report suggests that huge cities lessen the environmental blow of urbanization by distributing urban resources across surrounding regions. But it also points to the use of renewable energy and adaptation to climate change as areas in which megacities could lead environmental healing.

One day, megacities could be more important than countries.

Could the country one day be passÇ? Perhaps, writes Parag Khanna for Quartz. Khanna's new book is titled "Connectography." It explores how the planet is connected. He argues that megacities will soon be more important than the arbitrary national borders that once divided countries. As infrastructure continues to integrate urban areas, writes Khanna, megacities will attract even more wealth and population. One day, perhaps, the huge cities may recreate the world map.
 
They even have their own art exhibition.
 
Convinced yet that megacities are a mega player? Megacities Asia is a new art exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. It features diverse art from 11 renowned artists from different Asian cities like Seoul and Delhi. From a backpack-constructed snake that pays tribute to over 5,000 schoolchildren who died in a Chinese earthquake to a delicious sculpture made entirely of discarded plastic bags from Mumbai, the exhibit is as expansive and vibrant as megacities themselves. It runs until July 17. That is plenty of time for you to get a glimpse of some of the world's biggest cities without grabbing your passport.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is the number of megacities increasing?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (51)
  • angelad-6-bar
    5/14/2016 - 12:14 a.m.

    The number of megacities is increasing because of the population growth in the world, thats why as population increases the number of megacities, "An additional 2.5 billion people are projected to be added to the world's urban population by 2050." I found this article interesting because it does not only focus the negative sides of megacities.

  • matthewb1-kut
    5/14/2016 - 08:19 a.m.

    so if mega cities take over countries that could harm the environment and destroy the earths ozone also making global warming even worse and soon killing millions of people.

  • michaelf-kut
    5/14/2016 - 02:04 p.m.

    The number of megacities is increasing because urbanization. Urbanization is when people move from rural areas to urban areas like cities. If people continue to move to cities, then the amount of people living in the cities will increase. Eventually the cities will pass the 10 million mark and become a megacity.

  • sams1-ver
    5/14/2016 - 03:19 p.m.

    I think this is cool how we are finding new things that can help us save ote earth everyday now it`s ust up to us to use it

  • devong-kut
    5/14/2016 - 05:42 p.m.

    Those musams seem cool, but how could they predict what's going to happen in the future?

  • melissaj-Ste
    5/15/2016 - 02:30 p.m.

    There are definitely way too many people on this planet. While there are people who do move out of the urban area, there are even more people who move into the city which is why the population is increasing.

  • joshm-kut
    5/15/2016 - 06:40 p.m.

    the number of mega cities is increasing because earth is getting more populated less than a second

  • maddiee-kut
    5/16/2016 - 07:02 a.m.

    This article was very interesting since it kinda relates to social studies and what we learned in there about the population in states.

  • natalier-kut
    5/16/2016 - 07:53 a.m.

    Because population is increasing.

  • danielg333728-
    5/16/2016 - 09:51 a.m.

    The number of megacities is increasing because the worlds population is rapidly increasing; and continents, countries, states, cities,etc. are getting more crowded(populated).

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