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Where Cities are Growing

© Urban Age

Biennale Architettura 2016 - International Exhibition

Biennale Architettura 2016 - International Exhibition

There are dramatic regional differences in the pace and scale of urban transformations at the global level. The map charts the size and growth of a selection of world cities with more than a million people from 1950 to 2025. In 1950, the fishing village of Shenzhen in southeast China had 3148 inhabitants. By 2025, the UN predicts, that number will exceed 12 million. Congo’s capital Kinshasa will have gone from 200,000 to more than 16 million, growing over the next decade at the vertiginous rate of four per cent a year (about 40 people an hour). Meanwhile Brazil’s economic engine São Paulo will have slowed to less than one per cent per annum, nonetheless experiencing a tenfold expansion over the 75 year period. In 2015 London overtook its historical high of 8.6 million reached at the outset of the Second World War, bucking the trend of many European and North American cities which have experienced only slight or even negative growth. Compared to other global cities, London is inching forward, with only nine new residents an hour, compared to double that number in São Paulo and over 70 in Delhi, Lagos, and Dhaka. Nonetheless, London will accommodate one million more people by 2030. These snapshots reflect deep differences in patterns of urban growth and change across the globe, often masked by the crude statistic that the world is now more urban than rural, and that we are heading towards the 70 per cent threshold by 2050. To better understand the impacts of these regional differences, the Urban Age programme at LSE Cities has investigated the demographic, economic, and environmental patterns linked to global urbanization and urban change.

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  • Title: Where Cities are Growing
  • Creator: © Urban Age
  • Rights: © Urban Age, Source: LSE Cities analysis of United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2012). World Urbanization Prospects: The 2011 Revision

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