Half of the world’s population now lives in cities, according to UN-Habitat’s latest reports. While this number is set to increase to two-thirds by 2050, urban challenges are growing exponentially, making it more crucial than ever, to transform our cities. Annually, the world population review assesses the growth of cities and the number of residents living in metropolitan areas, to understand global evolution trends. In 2022, the list of the top 20 most populated countries remained similar to the 2021 edition, with a slight change in numbers and positions. Tokyo kept its status as the world’s largest city, with 37 million inhabitants, while Delhi and Shanghai, followed in second and third positions.
Comparing the results to the 2021 edition, the only decrease that can be seen in the top 20, involves both Japanese cities, Tokyo and Osaka. The rest of the list had, on average, a growth of 1.8% in the total of people residing in metropolitan areas. In fact, African cities Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Lagos in Nigeria gathered the highest rates, with respectively a 4.39% and a 3.54% increase in residents in 1 year. The largest city in the American continent is still Sao Paulo in Brazil, followed closely by Mexico City and Buenos Aires in Argentina, further down the table. In Europe, Istanbul is the most populous, with more than 14.5 million residents.
As is obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in demographics, cities are becoming denser—much denser. Rural life continues its steady emptying-out as urban life accelerates its explosive filling-in. The tilt has been apparent at least since the middle of the last century when the French geographer Jean Gottmann invented the word “megalopolis” to describe the continuous urbanization from Boston to Washington, D.C., then containing one-fifth of the United States’ population. But nowhere has the shift from countryside to city been more dramatic than in present-day Asia.
Rahul Mehrotra is an urbanist, educator, and founding principal of Mumbai- and Boston-based Rahul Mehrotra Architects (RMA Architects). Across India, Mehrotra has designed projects that range from master plans to weekend houses, factories, social institutes, and office buildings. Over decades, his endeavors in urban activism have culminated in the founding of the firm’s Architecture Foundation, which focuses on creating “awareness of architecture in India” through research, publication, exhibitions, and inclusive public dialogue surrounding architectural ethics and values.
This week, the C40 global network of cities and engineering and sustainability firm Arup launched a virtual exhibition showcasing examples of climate initiatives and resiliency strategies from 11 cities committed to addressing climate change. Given that cities account for more than 70% of global carbon emissions, the Global Cities Climate Action Exhibition aims to highlight the role of cities in reaching climate targets through local policies and urban development plans, achieving tangible emission reductions and increasing social equity.
Led by Iyad Alsaka, Adrianne Fisher, and Wael Sleiman, OMA’s latest project, the Prestige Liberty Towers, breaks ground in Mumbai, India. Expected to be completed in 2025, the mixed-used complex is the firm’s first venture in India, located in the historic textile mills at the heart of the city.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Jencks Foundation announced renowned Indian architect Anupama Kundoo as the winner of this year's RIBA Charles Jencks Award. The accolade given in recognition of significant contributions to the theory and practice of architecture acknowledges Kundoo's holistic practice that marries theoretical investigations, material research and sustainable building methods.
According to the United Nations’ latest report on populations in cities, by 2030, “urban areas are projected to house 60 percent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants”. Growing in both size and number, cities are hubs of government, commerce, and transportation, and in 2021, the world’s 20 largest cities are home to half a billion people. In fact, one in five people worldwide lives in a city with more than 1 million inhabitants.
Below, we have rounded up the top 20 megacities in the world of 2021, according to the number of people that live in their metropolitan area. While Tokyo is the largest city on a global level, with a total of more than 37 million residents, the majority of the most populous cities in the world are in the two most populated countries, China and India. Among these, we have 5 metropolises in China, Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Tianjin, and Guangzhou, and 3 in India, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. The largest city in the American continent is Sao Paulo in Brazil with 22 million people, followed by Mexico City and Buenos Aires in Argentina. Istanbul takes the 13th position with one part of the city lying in Europe and the other part in Asia.
The fourteenth Alvar Aalto Medal has been awarded to the Indian architectural office Studio Mumbai and its director Bijoy Jain. The award, carrying the name of the Finnish architect and designed by Aalto himself, was founded in 1967 in order to honor creative architectural work. Given out every three years by the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the medal “can be given to persons who have gained merit in the field of creative architecture in a very significant way”.
As Covid-19 spread across the globe last year, cities underwent a transformation unlike any we had seen in the last century. The sudden disappearance of both human and automotive traffic as people bunkered down under quarantine was visible in cities worldwide and, astonishingly, continued even after quarantine restrictions were lifted.
In the dense urban fabric of India’s Mumbai, Studio Symbiosis upgraded the ID Origins Headquarters into a new visual marker of the city, using organic strokes to merge old and new into one revitalized project. The HQ has been under construction since October 2019 and is a historic landmark for the company, as it was where the owners first initiated their business in the 1980s. The 18,750 sqm project was awarded the WA World Architecture Community Awards for its unique design approach.
Charles Correa Foundation has recently released several snippets of ‘You & Your Neighbourhood’, Charles Correa’s 1955 Master Thesis at MIT, an animation film for which the architect was scriptwriter, animator, photographer and director. The thesis put forward the idea of a participatory process for the betterment of neighbourhoods, with a strong emphasis on creating a framework for improving urban conditions in a bottom-up approach.