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close this bookDiversity, Globalization, and the Ways of Nature (IDRC, 1995, 234 p.)
close this folder12. The urban environmental challenge
View the documentThe development of modern cities
View the documentLarge cities in the Third World
View the documentThe megacities of today

Large cities in the Third World

Developing countries are experiencing a replay of the industrial experience. The largest Third World cities have welcomed many of the polluting industries that were moving out of developed countries. The large metallurgy factories, automobile-making complexes, chemical industries of various kinds, large tanneries, and many other pillars of the industrial age have begun to sprout up all over the world in Sao Paulo, Seoul, Mexico City, Cairo, Bombay, Manila, Djakarta, and many other metropolises.

Whereas the populations of London and New York, the largest megacities of the past, have stabilized, Third World cities are still growing: Mexico City has 20 million people; Sao Paulo, 18 million; Shanghai, Cairo, Bombay, and Calcutta, 15 million each; Seoul and Buenos Aires, 12 million; Manila, Bangkok, Djakarta, and Rio de Janeiro, 10 million. The list is not complete. According to the old industrial standard, London, Paris, and Frankfurt have fallen behind - but have they? Perhaps, the population of cities only measures their degree of unsustainability. Perhaps, the higher ranking cities are the ones with less time to change direction.