China’s Pearl River Delta Overtakes Tokyo as World’s Largest Urban Area

China’s Pearl River Delta has surpassed Tokyo in both size and population, making it the largest urban area in the world, according to the World Bank. The colossal megapolis - a conglomerate of several cities, including Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan and Dongguan - is a central component to China’s manufacturing and trade industries.

It is now home to 42 million - more people than the countries of Canada, Argentina or Australia. And, considering nearly two-thirds of the East Asia region’s population (64%) is still “non-urban,” the area is expected to grow exponentially. 

Warning of the potential consequences of unplanned growth, the report made a case for affordable housing and efficient public transport as a way to avoid the increase of inequality, stating: "While this transformation is going on, there is still an opportunity to set the course of urbanization on a more sustainable and equitable path... Within a few decades, this window of opportunity will close, and future generations will be left to deal with the consequences of how we urbanize today.”

Pearl River Delta is one of eight megacities in the region of more than 10 million people: the Pearl River Delta, Shanghai and Beijing in China; Tokyo and Osaka in Japan; and Jakarta, Seoul and Manila. Several hundred million will be relocating to cities within the region over the next 20 years.

Read the complete report, here.

News via The World Bank, The Guardian, Urbanland

About this author
Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "China’s Pearl River Delta Overtakes Tokyo as World’s Largest Urban Area" 28 Jan 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

The Pearl River Delta's urban growth in 1973 and 2003. Image © Flicker CC user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


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