The rise of megacities

Article from The Guardian, 4 Oct 2012. By Nick Mead and the Guardian Interactive team.
By 2025, the developing world, as we understand it now, will be home to 29 megacities. We explore the latest UN estimates and forecasts on the growth of these ‘cities on steroids’, and take a look at the challenges and opportunities megacities present for the tens of millions living in Lagos …       < Read More >

This interactive article in the global Development section from The Guardian shows what we can expect in the future, with a continuing trend of population growth and city expansion. Currently, there are 23 megacities (>10 million inhabitants). The UN predicts that 9 megacities will be added by 2025, bringing the total up to 37. I think this means a lot when we consider the ecological footprint of ‘the modern man’. It is extremely important that the developing cities have a smart and environmentally sound development plan. This means thinking more ahead towards expansion and growth, instead of letting expansion take place where it finds a way. Although there is an increasing awareness and attention for sustainable development, we still act like a fat kid that eats three slices of cake every day and one day finds himself unable to close his pants. The passive attitude needs to be replaced by one that foresees, controlling the pounds by putting less cream on the cake and start exercising. The article talks about Sao Paolo, South America’s first megacity. Its growth was unplanned and chaotic, with favelas bordering the cities hillside slopes. Replacing the favela slums by proper settlements may have seemed an easy task, but created serious drainage problems. In a world that grows fast, it is of utmost importance for the environmental scientist and managers to stay awake, and keep up. The issue is big, multidisciplinary and involves everybody..We are talking about the carrying capacity of the earth!

How do you see the future? How can we sustain the growing population, without being smothered? Share your ideas!


  1. Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you spending
    some time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments.

    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

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