“Ten Urbanization Statistics” That Will Blow Your Mind.

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The Anthropocene Journal in 2012 published a list of “Ten Urbanization” stats that will blow your mind. Important for understanding where the future is headed is equally to understand why. It’s estimated that “we need to create the equivalent of one new city of one million people every 5 days between now and 2050.” As emerging-market urbanization continues over the decades ahead, wealth and consumption will inevitably grow along with the scale and nature of our problems… the good news is, so does our collective ability to solve them.

1. Global urban population: 3.5 billion.

2. In 2008, civilisation crossed a landmark: half the global population now living in urban areas. Fifty years ago it was 30%. A century ago it was 10%. The current estimate is 60% by 2020.

3. In 1800, Beijing was the only city with a population of one million or greater. By 1900, 16 cities had reached this figure. By 2000, it was 378 cities. By 2025, there will be about 600 cities of one million or more worldwide.

4. By 2030, the world’s urban population is expected to hit five billion. By 2100, an additional three-to-five billion people will live in cities (creating an urban population of 6.4-8.4 billion people).

5. China has the highest rates or urban expansion. Annual rates of urban land expansion vary from 13.3% for coastal areas to 3.9% for the western regions.

6. In 2010, 33% of the urban population in developing regions lived in slums. Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest slum population, 199.5 million (61.7%) people, followed by Southern Asia with 190.7 million (35%).

7. By 1950, the New York City metropolitan area became the first urban area to reach a population of 10 million. In 1962 Tokyo was the first city to have a population of 10 million. Today there are 19 urban agglomerations with populations of 10 million or more.

8. Tokyo is the world’s largest city with the population in the Tokyo-Yokohama area hitting 36.7 million. The urban extent of Tokyo-Yokohama covers 13,500 km² , an area bigger than Jamaica (11,000 km² ). Tokyo accounts for almost 2% of the world’s GDP.

9. Global urbanization is following the blueprint of North American cities, but faster and at larger scales. These trends are most evident in developing countries.

10. Urban areas in low-lying coastal zones are growing faster than elsewhere. Inadequate responses to protecting coastal urban areas from climate change will be devastating to the economies and infrastructure of 13 percent of the world’s urban population.

References can be found at the Anthropocene Journal.

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