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The Megacity

The movement and concentration of the global population in urban areas is growing at a rapid rate. The increased growth rates of major urban areas calls for the development of megacities to keep up with the increase in the population. According to the definition provided by the United Nations, megacities are cities with populations of over 10 million (UNFPA, 12). Based on this definition, it is expected that the number of megacities in the world will be mostly located in the developing world. However, the definition of megacities based on the population size is arbitrary given that the population in any given city changes with context and time. In the ancient times, for example, Rome, which has a population of slightly over 1 million inhabitants, was considered to be a megacity (Bugliarello).

Urbanization has been a major characteristic of human development. In the 1800s, for example, not many people lived in urban eras. However, by the 1950s, there were almost 100 cities throughout the world with populations of over 1 million people. In the recent times, this number has increased tremendously. With the increase in population, there has emerged the need for people to access vital services, such as housing and medical services. Given that these services are mostly available in urban areas, majority of rural residents have moved to urban areas. Therefore, the development of megacities has been associated with the desire of people to get access to better services. According to the projections by the UN, ten of the world’s megacities will be located in Asia alone (Bugliarello, 153).

While there might be various examples of megacities in the developed world, the concept of megacity is purely a developing world phenomenon. Currently, most of the largest cities in the world are located in the developing world, a significant change from the 1980s and the 1990s. For example, while

Tokyo and New York have experienced moderate...
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