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. This was as of 2014. Megacities are urban areas with a population 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 staggering 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 consolidate into a whopping 41 megacity regions. It should happen by 2030. Look for burgeoning 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 both greenhouse gases and atmospheric pollutants, and they're expected to emit even more as time goes on. In 2005, megacities emitted 12 percent of all of the carbon dioxide on Earth, and 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 that 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, whose book "Connectography" explores how the planet is connected, 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, perhaps one day recreating 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. It is 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 provides 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 (22)
  • lucasl-3-bar
    5/19/2016 - 09:33 p.m.

    The number of megacities are increasing, as stated by the article, simply because population is skyrocketing. As population increases, so does population density, meaning more cities and megacities. Also, health and technology are improving worldwide. As a result, people can live in a more densely populated area. Economic worth and opportunity of big cities can draw people to the cities, offering jobs and other choices. The article is an interesting report on the growth of urban areas and lifestyle worldwide, bringing about overpopulation and dangers of disease, but also of new cultures and growth in society as a whole.

  • seans-2-bar
    5/19/2016 - 09:34 p.m.

    The number of megacities is increasing due to both increased population and the gradual transformation of rural areas into metropolises. As stated in the above article the population is increasing "An additional 2.5 billion people are projected to be added to the world's urban population by 2050". And these people aren't from thin air, they used to live in rural areas that have been taken over due to the increasing global industry. This is actually an appropriate question for once, nice job Tween Tribune.

  • maxwellc-3-bar
    5/19/2016 - 10:15 p.m.

    The number of meta cities are increasing as a result of many factors, such as population growth and urbanization. As the text recalls, the UN published a study on the world's increasing urbanization, which increases the number of mega cities, as a kind of birth-child or development as a result of urbanization. I do not agree with the idea that Khanna [...] argues that megacities will soon be more important than the arbitrary national borders that once divided countries." I think that this will never happen

  • caitlynk-2-bar
    5/20/2016 - 12:01 a.m.

    The number of mega cities is increasing because "urban populations continue to swell". It is pretty simple, the more people we have the more megacities there are. They assume that there will be forty-one megacities in 2030 because the population is increasing rapidly. Also, because of how many megacities formed in the years between 1990 and 2014. This article was interesting because the cities that I thought were pretty big weren't listed as a megacity. This article does not surprise me because the world population is going up at an incredible rate, so there needs to be more places that can hold an outstanding amont of people.

  • luket-4-bar
    5/20/2016 - 12:24 a.m.

    The number of megacities is increasing because the world's population is increasing. According to the United Nations, approximately 12 percent of the worlds population lives in megacities. The UN also said that there is predicted to be 2.5 billion more people in the world by 2050, so it just makes sense that more megacities will pop up around the world.
    I thought this article was interesting because I had no idea how much of the population was concentrated in these megacities.

  • brianag-6-bar
    5/20/2016 - 01:29 a.m.

    The number of mega irises is increasing because of population growth and they are needed to hold over 7 billion people,"According to the United Nations, megacities housed approximately 12 percent of urban dwellers." I wasn't surprised by this article because I know how big our population is.

  • noahf-3-bar
    5/20/2016 - 06:12 a.m.

    The number of megacities is increasing because the human population is increasing, and with an ever increasing population there will always be a need for more houses and instead of developing new cities and towns it is easier to settle and expand on already developed cities causing them to turn into megacities overtime. I found the idea of megacities interesting, and at the same time frightening, megacities need to adapt and innovate to fulfill the challenges residents face. If they don't those in megacities could suffer from lower qualities of life and major health and safety risks.

  • carlosp-6-bar
    5/26/2016 - 10:55 p.m.

    The number of megacities is increasing because the population of the people is increasing a lot every year. We need this megacities because we need to make homes and places to stay for seven billion people. This is based on the evidence of the first paragraph. "Mumbai. Shanghai. Tokyo. Beijing. According to the United Nations, megacities housed approximately 12 percent of urban dwellers. This was as of 2014. Megacities are urban areas with a population of 10 million or more." This shows how many people and who lives in these cities.
    I like this article because I didn't know much about these cities but i think it will not be good for the environment and the world because of all the solution that humans will make and the more humans there are the more solution there is in the world so I think we need to find a solution to prevent the solution from killing our world that we live in.

  • jackw-4-bar
    5/27/2016 - 10:56 a.m.

    The number of mega cities are increasing because the population is growing very quickly. According to this article it says that 840 million people live in cities. That leaves over 6 billion people left that don't live in mega cities. This article interested me because I did not know the population I was going so quickly.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    6/14/2016 - 02:35 p.m.

    I didn't know that there were such things as megacities. Megacities are urban areas with a population of 10 million or more. Since there are many people living in the megacities, they will have a great impact on the world. For example, the gases from megacities can harm the atmosphere. However, it can give resources to nearby regions. The number of megacities are increasing and there can be even up to over forty in several years. They might even be able to be on a map. It even has an art exhibit called Megacities Asia that features many arts in Asia.
    The number of megacities are increasing because the urban population is also increasing. There were around twelve percent of the urban population during two thousand fourteen.

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