Jacob J Adam
‘The development of world cities and megacities has only been possible because of developments in transport, but now transport problems threaten to limit further growth of the biggest cities. To what extent do you agree with this?’ A world city is a city generally considered to play an important role in the global economic system. A megacity is a very large city, typically one with a population of over ten million people. Cities are shaped by their transport systems. The development of transport has made it easier for urban dwellers to travel long distances, enabling cities to expand across vast areas. However, there are a number of problems caused by transport. Three of the biggest problems are loss of public space, high maintenance costs and energy consumption. The question is, what are the social, economic and environmental impacts caused by these transport problems in big cities, and how do the impacts threaten growth? Loss of public space is a problem caused by transport which has negative social impacts. The majority of roads are publicly owned and free of access. Increased traffic has had a detrimental effect on public activities such as markets and community events. These have gradually disappeared, and been replaced by automobiles. In many cases, these activities have shifted to shopping malls while in other cases, they have been abandoned altogether. Levels of traffic influence the life and interactions of residents and their usage of street space. More traffic gets in the way of social interactions and street activities. People tend to walk and cycle less when traffic is high. Jamie Lerner attempted to combat this problem as mayor of Curitiba in the 1970s. His vision was to create a pedestrianised street mall in downtown Curitiba. Despite being quoted a construction time of at least 6 months, Lerner demanded it was done in 72 hours. With Brazil under dictatorship at the time, Lerner's demand was met. This is an example of how social...
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