In 2011 the world's population topped seven billion people. The number of megacities with populations in excess of ten million people also continues to grow. We now live in an age in which over than half the world's population live in cities. As climate fluctuations become increasingly severe, realizing sustainable cities is becoming an issue of importance to everyone around the world. In this edition of Earthrium, we consider the future of cities from the point of view of sustainability and adaptation to climate change.
This time we've plotted on the Earthrium globe megacities (cities with populations in excess of 10 million people) from 1950 through 2025 based on data from a 2011 report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).
In 2010, the population of the worldfs megacities in the world ranked as follows.
|1||Tokyo (Japan)||36.93 million|
|2||Delhi (India)||21.94 million|
|3||Mexico City (Mexico)||20.14 million|
|4||New York (USA)||20.1 million|
|5||Sao Paulo (Brazil)||19.65 million|
|6||Shanghai (China)||19.55 million|
|7||Mumbai (India)||19.42 million|
|8||Beijing (China)||15 million|
|9||Dakar (Bangladesh)||14.93 million|
|10||Kolkata (India)||14.28 million|
|11||Karachi (Pakistan)||13.5 million|
|12||Buenos Aires (Argentina)||13.37 million|
|13||Los Angeles (USA)||13.22 million|
|14||Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||11.87 million|
|15||Manila (Philippines)||11.65 million|
|16||Moscow (Russia)||11.47 million|
|17||Osaka (Japan)||11.43 million|
|18||Cairo (Egypt)||11.03 million|
|19||Istanbul (Turkey)||10.95 million|
|20||Lagos (Nigeria)||10.79 million|
|21||Paris (France)||10.52 million|
|22||Guangzhou (China)||10.49 million|
|23||Shenzen (China)||10.22 million|
The same report predicted that by 2015 the following 14 cities would be added to the list of megacities: Kinshasa (DR Congo), Chongqing (China), Bangalore (India), Jakarta (Indonesia), Chennai (India), Wuhan (China), Tianjin (China), Hyderabad (India), Bogota (Columbia), Lima (Peru), Chicago (USA), Bangkok (Thailand), Lahore (Pakistan), London (UK).
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in 2008 half the world's population already lived in cities, and in 2050, when the world's population is expected to top nine billion people, two-thirds of us will be city-dwellers. As you will see at a glance if you look at the globe, in emerging regions such as China, India and Africa, a large number of massive cities will appear. In order to build a sustainable society in which humans and the natural environment co-exist, thinking about the sustainability of such cities is an issue that cannot be ignored. On top of this, climate fluctuations are predicted to become more severe, and for this reason it could also be said that building cities that can also deal with natural disasters is a matter of urgency.
With this in mind, we talked to Yasuaki Hijioka, Head of the Environmental Urban Systems Section within the Center for Social and Environmental Systems Research at the National Institute for Environmental Studies and Coordinating Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), about climate change and cities.