A metropolis is a large densely populated urban area that has a significant economic, political and cultural function to its inhabiting country or region. A city’s population has to exceed 1 million inhabitants to even be considered a metropolis in today’s context.
Another term has been coined to describe cities with super densely populated urban areas: Super Cities.
A super city is an urban area with three characteristics: It has a population of more than 1 million people, a sustainable capability for meeting the physical and social needs of its residents like food, shelter, safety, health, transportation, and education and it has a dynamic economic environment that creates and nurtures economic investments.
Here are 7 emerging super cities expected to grow in the next 7 years:
1. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo has the largest metropolitan economy in the world and is forecast to stay that way. Tokyo’s urban area houses about 35.2 million people. As of 2009, 51 of the companies listed on the Global 500 are based in Tokyo, making it a major international finance center. Tokyo also is home to the headquarters of several of the world’s largest investment banks and insurance companies, and operates as the heart of Japan’s transportation, publishing, and broadcasting industries. By 2020, it is forecast that Tokyo’s population will grow to over 37 million people.
Mumbai is India‘s largest city, housing 20.5 million people. Over the next 20 years, its population is expected to grow rapidly. Mumbai is the financial and commercial capital of India, generating 6.16% of the total GDP. Most of India’s major publishing houses, major television and satellite networks have headquarters in Mumbai and it serves as Bollywood’s home, the largest film producer in India and one of the largest in the world. In April 2008, Mumbai was ranked seventh in the list of “Top Ten Cities for Billionaires” by Forbes magazine.
3. Delhi, India
India’s second largest city houses 16.7 million people and is projected to be third-largest conurbation in the world after Tokyo and Mumbai by 2015. Delhi offers its country essential service industries like IT, telecommunications, tourism, and banking. Delhi’s large consumer market and the availability of skilled labour also attracted foreign investment.
4. Dhaka, Bangladesh
One of the fastest growing cities in the world, Dhaka is home to an estimated 12.8 million as of 2008 and is growing by an estimated 4.2% per year, one of the highest rates amongst Asian cities. Dubbed the City of Mosques and the Ricksaw Capital of the World, Dhaka has an annual growth rate of 6.2% and the GMP is projected to rise to $215 billion by 2025. Urban developments have caused a widespread construction boom with new high-rise buildings and skyscrapers dotting the city landscape. Dhaka’s growth has been especially strong in the finance, banking, manufacturing, telecommunications and services sectors.
5. Mexico City, Mexico
The Mexico City Metropolitan area is home to 21.2 million people and is projected to grow at a rate of 2% per year. This rapid growth in Mexico City was the outcome of policies that greatly favoured the concentration of industrial production in Mexico City. Generating a GDP of $390 billion, Mexico City ranks as the eighth richest city in the world and the richest in the whole of Latin America.
6. Shanghai, China
Shanghai’s population has peaked to 23 million last year and is projected to grow by 17% over the next decade. Shanghai is a major financial player and has one of the largest container ports in the world. Over the last two decades, Shanghai has become one of the fastest developing cities in the world with a heavy emphasis on industrial operations and also financial services, retail, and real estate.
7. Lagos, Nigeria
One of the fastest growing cities in Africa, Lagos experienced a population and economic boost after the 1970s oil boom. It is thought that the population of Lagos is now 21 million and continuing to grow at a rapid rate. Oil and petroleum products provide 14% of GDP and the city is home to the Port of Lagos, one of the largest and busiest in Africa.
These cities are packed with heftier economic, political and technological power than ever before. A super city offers its country more jobs, services and opportunities but at the same time, has a deeper responsibility to manage resources carefully and provide safety and care for its residents.
A lot of planning must take place to make super cities sustainable and safe. Further discussions on how to make this possible take place on urban development forums like Common Ground. By this definition, not all large cities are supercities, but all large cities can strive to achieve that status.