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Lecture

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Department
Geography
Course Code
GGRA03H3
Professor
Andre Sorensen

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Megacities
What are megacities?
What is different between large cities compared with a smaller one?
Some say megacities are sustainable. Less energy, garbage waste per capita
Others use dystopia to disapprove
Why are megacities important?
Megacities contain 9% of the world population
Rapid growth of number of megacities, 2 in 1950, in 2007 there are 19
By 2050, projected there will be 27 megacities
What are megacities?
Population > 10 million
In the past, the definition was once 4 million, then 8 million
No reason to think that there isnt a qualitative change from 8 or 10 million
But there is difference between 1 or 10 million
What kind of urban issues are influenced by very large cities?
- Resources demanded
- Scaling the city, transportation
- Pollution
- Governance
Special issues of very large cities
History of thinking about city size
Plato thought 50000 is the ideal size, any size larger, people wont know each other
At 50000, it is possible for everyone to know each other and get involved politically
In 20th century, when a city goes over a certain level, diseconomies of scale would
dominate. Increase cost, reduce efficiency, leading to slower growth
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What are diseconomies of scale, and what are some examples?
- Congestion
- Pollution
- High land cost
Diseconomies of scale is impossible to tell
All of the factors are expected to grow with city size
Increase business cost, reduce infrastructure investment, roads, etc
Counterbalance these increased cost is the economies of scale
- Variety of goods
- Private investments (more attractive to businessmen)
- Larger labor pools
- More efficient use of land
Economies of scale are larger than diseconomies of scale, or else cities would decline
Economies of scale mostly benefit firms while diseconomies of scale mostly cost
individuals, but some benefits to individuals from economies of scale is job
opportunity
Cost to people, benefits to firms
Affect livability pollution, high housing cost
Extensive patterns of growth (sprawl)
All struggle with extensive growth
A lot of stuff doesnt change as cities grow bigger
Mexico city growth is slowing, but land area continue to grow rapidly
Increase use of automobiles, increasing development of fringe gated enclave
communities
Defined as development of low density part of urban fringe
Hard to manage growth that goes past municipal boundaries, in places with weak
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planning capacity, in both rich and poor cities
Most development in poor countries is illegal, hard for government to control
Increasing polycentricity
An ideal development for metropolitan regions, more convenient for residents
Limits travel distance
Making public transit systems viable nodes and corridors model
Las Vegas is an unplanned polycentric centre. A response to long travel time
The ideal way to build polycentric centres first start with public transportation, then
highly accessible roads, last comes the centres
Political fragmentation
Problems of fragmented governance in metropolitan regions are well know:
- Difficult to co-ordinate
- Growth moves to rural municipalities with weaker governance, weak financial
capacity, creates debt for cities
- Municipalities want to stay independent
- Social justice issues: rich pay lower taxes, receive better services
- Fragment allow to secede contributing to metropolitan region need, while
benefiting from regional services
Political logic works against development of regional planning
Socio-spatial polarization
Occurring everywhere except Japan, and some European cities
Separates rich from the poor
This is allowing the secession of elites from the larger urban conversation
Those living in these communities no longer have incentive to contribute to public
goods or public infrastructures
Promotes decline of civic capacity, increase inequality, reduces urban synergies
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