NYC: The tenth biggest city in the world.NYC: The tenth biggest city in the world.

The Sustainable development in a Mega City I. article published in the Greenfrastructures Blog to share information regarding sustainability.

Silk & Cake blog was created in July 2022 to share articles about experiences, design, business, technology, management, fintech and lifestyle, from the behavioral perspective.

The blogs started to become popular between people who are interested in those topics. 


I will quote the famous German author and poet: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Soon you will understand why would be important to learn more about sustainable development and how to make cities and communities more sustainable for example in mega city, by

  • raising awareness regarding problems e.g.: climate change,
  • learning more to have knowledge about sustainability and
  • finding solutions to problems,

which align to sustainable development goals. 


This paragraph above from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and feelings he described what we usually not feel in mega cities, when we woke up in a nice morning and start our rat-race to integrate ourselves in big city’s life.

“A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings.

I am so happy, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talent. Feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke now; and yet feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

While the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream.

As I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me. I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies. Then I feel the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us.

As it floats around me in an eternity of bliss. Darkness overspreads my eyes, heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress. Then I often think with longing. How could I describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me, that it might be the mirror of my soul.

I sink under the weight of the splendour of these visions!”

What is a mega city?

The previous words and feelings are not exactly what we feel in a Mega city. Except if we are in a cosy and silent environment and mostly somewhere in the outer urban zone.

Mega cities are the biggest cities in the world. They involve the best and worst traits, what you can see in a city. Their population are over ten million people.

Precise definitions of a Mega City are varied:

  • United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs in its 2018 “World Urbanization Prospects” report that urban agglomerations having over 10 million inhabitants.
  • University of Bonn reported that “metropolitan areas with a total population of 10 million or more people”.
  • Others list cities as a satisfying criterion of either 5 or 8 million, having a population density of 2,000 per square kilometre. The terms conurbationmetropolis, and metroplex also applied to the latter.

The biggest Mega cities are

  • Guangzhou with its 65 million+ inhabitants (more people living in 1 city than most countries in Europe).
  • The 1st 8 mega cities are in Asia: 2-8:
  • Tokyo: 40,700,000+,
  • Shanghai: 39,300,000+,
  • Delhi: 32,400,000+,
  • Jakarta: 28,600,000,
  • Metro Manila: 26,400,000,
  • Mumbai: 26,100,000,
  • Seoul: 24,800,000;
  • while the 9th is Mexico City: 24,700,000, and
  • the 10th is New York with 23,000,000 people according to 2022.

It means the first 8 asian Mega city have more than 282 million inhabitants.

Moreover the first 10 Mega city have 332 million inhabitants, which fifty million less than half of Europe’s population and more or equal like the entire US (not America) population, which was around 331,9 million in 2021.

These cities are always busy.

Even if you have never been in any of them, then you see them in movies.

If you are not from there it is just another dimension for you, and you might never understand what are the advantages and disadvantages to live there.

What are Meta cities?

According to the Un-habitat Meta cities or hipercities are refer to massive sprawling conurbations of more than 20 million people.

Tokyo became the first Meta or hypercity in the world in the mid-1960’s when it crossed the 20 million threshold. Today the largest urban conglomeration in the world. Tokyoites – more than 35 million people – outnumber Canadians.

It was forecasted in 2006/2007 that Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, New York, Dhaka, Jakarta and Lagos will achieve by 2020 the metacity status. These metropolises are that huge, that they changed the dynamics of urbanisation.

Characteristics of Meta Cities

Advanced Technology

Meta cities incorporate state-of-the-art technologies,e.g.:

  • advanced transportation systems (e.g., hyperloops, autonomous vehicles),
  • smart infrastructure (e.g., smart grids, IoT-enabled devices), and
  • integrated data analytics to optimize various services.


These cities prioritize

Efficient resource management

Resource management and waste reduction would be integral to the development plans.

  1. High Connectivity: meta cities should provide seamless digital connectivity to residents, businesses, and government services, fostering a digitally inclusive society.
  2. Innovative Governance: Ttese cities might experiment with new governance models, involving increased citizen participation, decentralized decision-making, and data-driven policymaking.
  3. Economic Diversity: meta cities could encourage a diverse range of industries, from high-tech startups to research and development centers, attracting a skilled and diverse workforce.
  4. Inclusive Design: accessibility and inclusivity would be core principles in the planning and development of meta cities, ensuring that everyone can benefit from the city’s resources and opportunities.
  5. Smart Urban Planning: advanced urban planning practices, such as mixed land-use development, compact city designs, and efficient public transportation systems, would be integral to meta cities.
  6. Resilience and Disaster Preparedness: these cities would invest in robust infrastructure and disaster preparedness plans to withstand natural disasters and other crises.
  7. Cultural and Social Vibrancy: meta cities could nurture a diverse cultural scene, fostering creativity, innovation, and a sense of community among residents.


People commute to work in megacities from densely populated outlying villages or suburbs. City centres stagnate as the economic base shifts outwards to periurban areas that are more attractive, but less well regulated. Secondary cities and city systems become inter-connected through manufacture and other business enterprises.

Telecommuting and remote work could help reduce heat waves in cities.

Sustainable Urban Governance

Megacities call for a reassessment of urban governance. For instance, areas that once were suburbs have themselves become small cities, but they tend to still be subject to suburban regulations.

Sustainable governance can be achieved through

  • devolution of decision-making and
  • esponsibilities down to municipalities, boroughs and
  • the civil society and communities.

How a Mega city formed?

Over 50 percent of the global population was living in urban areas by 2008. It was 3% in 1800 according to World Population History. Throughout history, cities attracted people as centers of culture, religion, learning, and economics. 

First wave of urban migration took place in Europe and North America, mostly known as the

“Great Migration“

It happened in the 20th century from 1916 to 1970 in that time the widespread migration of African American people migrated from rural communities in the South to huge cities in the North and West. It is estimated that 6 million black southerns relocated in that time. Amongst others the following cities absorbed large numbers of migrants: Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; and New York City where migrants were seeking better civil and economic opportunities accroding to the Brittanica.

European emigration

Massive stream of European emigration to the United States began in the late 19th century, decrased during the World War I, slowed to a trickle with immigration reform in the 1920s, then increased during the World War II.

Future urban expansion

90% of the future urban expansion is expected to take place in Asia and Africa. This is when urban places become more and more populated. By 2050 more than two-thirds of the world population will be calling cities home.

Urbanization is often linked with economics:

  • increased job opportunities,
  • centralized market,
  • better pay and
  • higher individual wealth drawn people into cities,

these pull factors are what caused cities to grow. 

Industrial Revolution (1760 to 1840) caused a shift from agricultural societies to industrial, and geographically centered societies. Although dynamic is changing.

Today, most urban growth is natural increase – due to more births than deaths among cities. In addition to this, formerly small settlements are being reclassified as urban areas as the population living there grows from within.

Technology revolution

Megacities are a key to globalisation, and a state of interconnectedness. The technology revolution made it possible for business enterprises to hire services anywhere in the world.

The following cities become hubs of global economic activity

  • Finance – Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Shanghai
  • Transport – Dubai, Rotterdam
  • Information technology – Bangalore, Seattle, Silicon Valley.

Istanbul and Mumbai are culturally influential within their regions through film, literature, TV networks and other forms of entertainment. NairobiAddis Ababa and Bangkok, amongst others, host regional headquarters for international agencies and development partners reported by the Urban Growth In The World’s Largest Cities, 1950-2020 Un-Habitat Report.

Sir Peter Hall, Professor of Planning at the University College of London – a renowned expert on urban trends, predicts this century will see a resurgence of economically powerful global cities in Asia, specifically Beijing, Shanghai and Mumbai. Rivalry already exists between India’s Mumbai and China’s Shanghai as global financial centres.

Follow Greenfrastructures on Social media. The article first updated on 22th Dec 2022 and republished on the new website on Aug 2023. The article may contain affiliate links. Please see Disclosure Policy.