WHO – Megacities and urban health. December 2009.
Full-text: http://www.who.or.jp/2009/reports/Megacities_Report_DEC09.pdf (pdf, 275KB)
Megacities are cities of 10 million or more inhabitants. There are more than 20 megacities in the world and they are highly diverse. They concentrate national and global economic and political power as well as scientific, political and media attention. When analysing health in megacities, it is difficult to separate the effect of size from other variables. However, cities of similar size do not necessarily suffer from the same problems, and at the same time common issues can be found among cities of very different dimensions. Nevertheless, starting with an analysis of their common characteristics, we identify nine challenges that megacities face which have particular health impact: transportation, governance, water and sanitation, safety, food security, water and sanitation, health care, emergency preparedness, and environmental issues. Each challenge is analysed in terms of its relationship with urban health. They are highly influenced by the complexity of megacities in terms of population size, geographical extension, social inequalities, and usually multiple and fragmented metropolitan governments. We conclude that given the variation among megacities and the extent of commonalities between megacities and other lower population settings, the relevance of the megacity as a category in urban health is limited. Yet the identification of these challenges, and the different ways in which they are being handled, is useful for shedding light on determinants of health and potential intersectoral interventions in a range of urban settings well beyond this group of cities.
SHANGHAI (AFP) — China’s past 30 years of reforms planted seeds that will in the coming decades produce future coastal megacities, an urban population of one billion and possibly the world’s biggest economy.
What the next 30 years of reforms have in store may be unclear but experts agree with widespread pollution problems and a tidal wave of migration set to hit China’s cities, urbanisation will be the future’s biggest challenge.
“The next 30 years are going to be a critical timetable for addressing all the needs of a large population and how China manages cities,” said James Canton, author of “The Extreme Future”.
By 2025 China’s urban population is expected to rise to 926 million from 572 million in 2005 — an increase equal to the entire current population of the United States, according to management consultants McKinsey & Company. By 2030 that number will increase to a billion.
Over the next two decades China will build 20,000 to 50,000 new skyscrapers — the equivalent of ten New York cities, according to McKinsey.