Cities On Speed
Soon more than 550 cities world wide will have a population of more than one million. In 2030 80% of the world’s population will live in cities. Megacities have traditionally been economic and political power centres but today the fastest growing cities are in developing nations.
There is an acute need for new models of city planning to prevent collapses under such huge social, economic and environmental pressure. The NEW challenge is that cities today are made by citizens rather than city planners. If we are to create sustainability, it is an absolute necessity for us to understand the new modernity.
Cities on Speed shows how four different megacities are dealing with this new modernity. What are the visions and the solutions and how do they affect the inhabitants?
Shanghai is not just a city – it’s an explosion of 4,000 skyscrapers, thousands of miles of highway, millions of citizens and thousands of government planners. Vast communities need to be expropriated to make way for new skyscrapers, roads and industries. The government tries to control it, the citizens try to use it but Shanghai is beyond control.
Previously only 12 million people lived in Cairo and the city was neat and tidy. Today Cairo has a population estimated at 20 million with six giant Garbage Villages that have evolved into towns within the city. Nobody can keep up with the speed at which the city is growing and their garbage piles up in the streets.
Urban planning can be tough in the world’s largest democracy! Mumbai is growing like it was on steroids and a collapsing infrastructure could put an end to economic growth. Public trains are filled to the bursting point, traffic is nearing a complete gridlock. An eight lane high-way is being built out in the sea to try to compensate for the threatening collapse.
In the early 90s, Bogotá was a city with big problems: Social inequality, pollution, out-of-control population growth and poor public transportation. Kidnappings were the order of the day and the city had the world’s highest homicide rates. But unlike other poor megacities, Bogotá found a solution: In 1993 Antana Mockus stepped onto the scene and turned the city into one big social experiment.