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Top 5  Megacities

Flickr | Alexander BaxevanisA megacity is a metropolitan area with a population more than 10 million people. Believe it or not, we are seeing more and more megacities throughout the years; as of 2017, there are 47 in existence and this number is expected to rise! Here are the top 5 megacities in the world.

Tokyo, Japan

It hard to image that the Tokyo-Yokohama area comprises of an outstanding 38 million people! That’s just over half the UK’s population in one city. With so many people crammed into a city of only 2,000km2, living  space is really cramped; people live in tiny apartments or even live with their families for their whole life due to rent being astronomical. If you have ever seen the buildings, they are really tall with hundreds of floors as this is the only way the city can accommodate its residents; expanding up is the only way forward for Tokyo’s population problem. As you’d expect, roads are filled with eight-lanes of traffic all day every day, it’s like permanent rush hour! Space is definitely a concern for Tokyo, especially with population on the rise; the city will soon have no more room!

Flickr | Guy Gorek
Jakarta, Indonesia

In close second is Jakarta with a population of 30.5 million; it is a city of contrasts, filled with unexpected streets and corners. This city has been booming since 2005, not just in terms of population, but has seen an economic growth rate by 6% due to urbanization. The ‘Megacity’ status is challenging for Jakarta, suffering from terrible traffic congestion throughout the whole city. In fact recently, this issue has led to a ‘three in one’ rule, where there must be at least three passengers per car to avoid unnecessary congestion. Like Delhi, there are areas of poverty, where 20% live in slums; this is why there is so much disparity within the city.

Flickr | Reza Ayomi
Delhi, India

The area of Delhi, including the capital New Delhi is currently at around 25 million people, this is bigger than the population of Australia! Unfortunately nearly half this population live in the city’s slums, which for many tourists looks like chaos; the constant beeping of car horns and long traffic queues is merely the way of life for Delhi inhabitants, but sadly one of the most polluted cities. Though, it’s a place of striking contrast; the other half live in the life of grand boulevards, shopping malls and business centres, you would never have thought that the other half of the same city lives in devastating poverty. So don’t be put off; Delhi is a city that is repeatedly reborn in almost every neighbourhood. There's so much to experience, it's just like a country in itself!

Flickr | Francois Decaillet 

Seoul, South Korea     

As we can see, when it comes to the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, Asia is unbeaten. Roughly 25 million people live in South Korea’s capital city, which is almost 50% of the county’s total population. As a result of this, Seoul is the most densely populated region in the world. The city has seen an extreme growth rate with the development of more and more high-rise apartments built in the suburbs, which has attracted many people from surrounding rural areas. Like any other city, the population is predicted to increase and poses more risk to the environment, contributing to a huge increase in both air and noise traffic pollution. In response to this, the mayor is optimistic that it will soon be a green city with clean air and a role model to other megacities that are contending similar complications.

Flickr | Gary Craig
Shanghai, China

Last of the top 5 is Shanghai, best known as China’s financial and commercial centre with twice as many skyscrapers than New York.  Shanghai’s population is 25.8 million. It is projected that the city’s population could reach 50 million by 2050 if population growth is double the current level; this is no surprise considering rapid urbanisation. It is no coincidence that population growth grew after the abolishment of the one-child policy, but a five-year plan has been put in place to avoid growth to 30 million in the next few years. Like any other megacity, major problems arise as the population of urban cities starts to rise unexpectedly; media is defining megacities as having the ‘big city disease’, where the city becomes plagued with air pollution, traffic congestion and has a shortage of public services. This so- called ‘disease’ is more or less present in every megacity in the world, and there is so much to be done to avoid it.

So there you have it, the top 5 megacities of the world. As fascinating as they are, they will become a problem in the future if they don’t become sustainable. It’s no coincidence that the top 5 are located in Asia as this region merely has a higher birth rate than death rate, but avoiding air pollution and traffic congestion should be the top priority for all megacities.


By Hanna-Johara Dokal - Online Journalism Intern

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