With more than 7 billion people now alive, the greatest population growth over the last century has occurred in urban areas. Now, a new series of interactive maps entitled "The Age of Megacities" and developed by software company ESRI allows us to visualize these dramatic effects and see just how this growth has shaped the geography of 10 of the world’s 28 megacities. Defined as areas with continuous urban development of over 10 million people, the number of megacities in the world is expected to increase, and while Tokyo still tops the list as the world’s largest megacity, other cities throughout Asia are quickly catching up. Find out more after the break.
Perhaps not surprisingly, much of the most significant urban growth will take place in developing countries. Lagos, Nigeria is included in the series of interactive maps. Despite being the largest city in Africa, “two out of three residents live in slums, lacking viable access to clean water, waste, disposal, electricity and roads.” According to UN Estimates, Lagos will grow to become the world’s third most populous city by 2015.
It is striking to see how many of these megacities witnessed their greatest expansion in the last fifty years. Though many of these cities began as small clustered areas, quite often they fell victim to urban sprawl and expanded outwards rather than increasing in density. Explore the full interactive map and learn more about the urban development of 10 of the worlds largest megacities here.