Town Planning Review

The contours of a new urban world? Megacity population growth and density since 1975

Town Planning Review (2019), 90, (6), 653–678.

Abstract

The problems posed by rapid and large-scale urbanisation are complex, and are recognised in the UN’s New Urban Agenda; a declaration of intent that aims to meet such challenges head-on facilitated by the systematic tracking and analysis of global urban growth and change. In this context, the release in 2016 of new small-area Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) data was said to represent a unique opportunity to facilitate comparative global analyses of urban change dynamics and, perhaps somewhat idealistically, move forward progressive planning agendas. We therefore focus on population growth and density in 30 major urban agglomerations using the GHSL in order to shed light on the scale and extent of global urbanisation over the past four decades and to interrogate the potential role of the GHSL in tracking urban change.

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References

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HAUGHTON, G., DEAS, I. and HINCKS, S. (2014), ‘Commentary. Making an impact: when agglomeration boosterism meets anti-planning rhetoric’, Environment and Planning A, 46, 265–70. Google Scholar

HUNT, A. and WATKISS, P. (2011), ‘Climate change impacts and adaptation in cities: a review of the literature’, Climatic Change, 104, 13–49. Google Scholar

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KLOTZ, M., KEMPER, T., GEIß, C., ESCH, T. and TAUBENBÖCK, H. (2016), ‘How good is the map? A multi-scale cross-comparison framework for global settlement layers: evidence from Central Europe’, Remote Sensing of Environment, 178, 191–212. Google Scholar

KOONINGS, K. and KRUIJT, D. (2013), Megacities: The Politics of Urban Exclusion and Violence in the Global South, London, Zed Books. Google Scholar

KORCELLI, P. and KORCELLI-OLEJNICZAK, E. (2018), ‘From metropolis to megacity’, in J. Kleer and K. A. Nawrot (eds), Rise of Megacities: The Challenges, Opportunities and Unique Characteristics, London, World Scientific Publishing Group Ltd, 61–76. Google Scholar

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KRÄMER, A., KHAN, M. H. and KRAAS, F. (2011), Health in Megacities and Urban Areas, Berlin, Springer-Verlag. Google Scholar

McCANN, P. and ACS, Z. (2011), ‘Globalization: countries, cities and multinationals’, Regional Studies, 45, 17–32. Google Scholar

McFARLANE, C. (2011), ‘The city as assemblage: dwelling and urban space’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29, 649–71. Google Scholar

McGEE, T. G. (1991), ‘The emergence of Desakota regions in Asia: expanding a hypothesis’, in N. Ginsburg, B. Koppel and T. G. McGee (eds), The Extended Metropolis: Settlement Transition in Asia, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 3–28. Google Scholar

MARTIN, P. and OTTAVIANO, G. (2001), ‘Growth and agglomeration’, International Economic Review, 42, 947–68. Google Scholar

MELCHIORRI, M., FLORCZYK, A., FREIRE, S., EHRLICH, D., SCHIAVINA, M., PESARESI, M. and KEMPER, T. (2018), ‘Megacities spatiotemporal dynamics monitored with the Global Human Settlement Layer’ (conference paper delivered at the Compentence Center of Urban and Regional Planning (CORP), 2018). Google Scholar

MOLINA, M. and MOLINA, L. (2004), ‘Megacities and atmospheric pollution’, Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, 54, 644–80. Google Scholar

MOLOTCH, H. (1976), ‘The city as a growth machine: towards a political economy of place’, American Journal of Sociology, 82, 309–32. Google Scholar

MOULD, O. (2015), ‘A limitless urban theory? A response to Scott and Storper’s “The nature of cities: The scope and limits of urban theory”’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 40, 1. Google Scholar

MOULD, O. (2016), ‘A limitless urban theory? A response to Scott and Storper’s “The nature of cities: the scope and limits of urban theory”’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 40, 157–63. Google Scholar

NICHOLLS, R. (1995), ‘Coastal megacities and climate change’, Geoforum, 37, 369–79. Google Scholar

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SASSEN, S. (1991), Global City, Princeton, Princeton University Press. Google Scholar

SCOTT, A. and STORPER, M. (2003), ‘Regions, globalization, development’, Regional Studies, 37, 579–93. Google Scholar

SCOTT, A. and STORPER, M. (2015), ‘The nature of cities: the scope and limits of urban theory’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39, 1–15. Google Scholar

SORENSEN, A. and OKATA, J. (2010), Megacities: Urban Form, Governance, and Sustainability, London, Springer. Google Scholar

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STORPER, M. and SCOTT, A. (2016), ‘Current debates in urban theory: a critical assessment’, Urban Studies, 53, 1114–36. Google Scholar

TAUBENBÖCK, H., ESCH, T., FELBIER, A., WIESNER, M., ROTH, A. and DECH, S. (2012), ‘Monitoring urbanization in mega cities from space’, Remote Sensing of Environment, 117, 162–76. Google Scholar

TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT (2017), Tokyo’s History, Geography, and Population, http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/ABOUT/HISTORY/history03.htm (accessed 1 June 2017). Google Scholar

UN (2016), The World’s Cities in 2016, New York, United Nations. Google Scholar

UNCHSUD (2016), Habitat III: New Urban Agenda, New York, United Nations. Google Scholar

VAN DER PLOEG, F. and POELHEKKE, S. (2008), ‘Globalization and the rise of mega-cities in the developing world’, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 1, 477–501. Google Scholar

WANG, H., ZHANG, X. and SKITMORE, M. (2015), ‘Implications for sustainable land use in high-density cities: evidence from Hong Kong’, Habitat International, 50, 23–34. Google Scholar

WEI, C., TAUBENBÖCK, H. and BLASCHKE, T. (2017), ‘Measuring urban agglomeration using a city-scale dasymetric population map: a study in the Pearl river delta, China’, Habitat International, 59, 32–43. Google Scholar

WONG, C. (2015), ‘A framework for “City Prosperity Index”: linking indicators, analysis and policy’, Habitat International, 45, 3–9. Google Scholar

WONG, C., BAKER, M., WEBB, B., HINCKS, S. and SCHULZE BÄING, A. (2015), ‘Mapping policies and programmes: the use of GIS to communicate spatial relationships in England’, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 42, 1020–39. Google Scholar

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ZHANG, Q. and SETO, K. (2011), ‘Mapping urbanization dynamics at regional and global scales using multi-temporal DMSP/OLS nighttime light data’, Remote Sensing of Environment, 115, 2320–29. Google Scholar

ZOOK, M., BAROCAS, S., BOYD, D., CRAWFORD, K., KELLER, E., GANGADHARAN, S. P., GOODMAN, A., HOLLANDER, R., KOENIG, B. A., METCALF, J., NARAYANAN, A., NELSON, A. and PASQUALE, F. (2017), ‘Ten simple rules for responsible big data research’, PLoS Compututational Biology, 13, https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005399 (accessed 27 August 2019). Google Scholar

ANDRADE, L. H., WANG, Y.-P., ANDREONI, S., SILVEIRA, C. M., ALEXANDRINO-SILVA, C., SIU, E. R., NISHIMURA, R., ANTHONY, J. C., GATTAZ, W. F., KESSLER, R. C. and VIANA, M. C. (2012), ‘Mental disorders in megacities: findings from the São Paulo megacity mental health survey, Brazil’, PLoS ONE, 7, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0031879 (accessed 27 August 2019). Google Scholar

BAGAN, H. and YAMAGATA, Y. (2015), ‘Analysis of urban growth and estimating population density using satellite images of nighttime lights and land-use and population data’, GIScience & Remote Sensing, 52, 765–80. Google Scholar

BARUA, M. and JELLIS, T. (2018), Vocabularies for Urban Futures: Critical Reflections (report delivered by the British Academy), British Academy, University of Oxford. Google Scholar

BATTY, M. (2004), ‘Dissecting the streams of planning history: technology versus policy through models’, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 31, 326–30. Google Scholar

BATTY, M., and LONGLEY, P. A. (1994), Fractal Cities: A Geometry of Form and Function, London, Academic Press. Google Scholar

BHATTA, B. (2010), Analysis of Urban Growth and Sprawl from Remote Sensing Data: Advances in Geographic Information Science, Berlin, Springer. Google Scholar

BHATTA, B., SARASWATI, S. and BANDYOPADHYAY, D. (2010), ‘Urban sprawl measurement from remote sensing data’, Applied Geography, 30, 731–40. Google Scholar

BRENNER, N. and SCHMID, C. (2015), ‘Towards a new epistemology of the urban?’, City, 19, 151–82. Google Scholar

BRUEGMANN, R. (2006), Sprawl: A Compact History, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar

BUIJS, S., TAN, W. and TUNAS, D. (2010), Megacities: Exploring a Sustainable Future, Rotterdam, 010 Publishers. Google Scholar

CASTELLS, M. (1972), La question urbaine, Paris, Maspero. Google Scholar

CHAN, C. and YAO, X. (2008), ‘Air pollution in mega cities in China’, Atmospheric Environment, 42, 1–42. Google Scholar

CHINA STATISTICAL YEARBOOK (2014), China Statistical Yearbook 2014, http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/ndsj/2014/indexeh.htm (accessed 2 June 2017). Google Scholar

DATTA, A. (2017), ‘Introduction: fast cities in an urban age’, in A. Datta and A. Shaban (eds), Mega-urbanization in the Global South: Fast cities and New Urban Utopias of the Postcolonial State, London, Routledge, 1–27. Google Scholar

DIETZEL, C. and CLARKE, K. (2005), ‘The effect of disaggregating land use categories in cellular automata during model calibration and forecasting’, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 30, 78–101. Google Scholar

EC (EUROPEAN COMMISSION) (2016), Atlas of the Human Planet 2016, https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-research-reports/atlas-human-planetmapping-human-presence-earth-global-human-settlement-layer (accessed 2 June 2017). Google Scholar

EUROPEAN COMMISSION, JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE (JRC), COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL EARTH SCIENCE INFORMATION NETWORK (CIESIN) (2015), GHS population grid, derived from GPW4, multitemporal (1975, 1990, 2000, 2015), European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID, http://data.europa.eu/89h/jrc-ghsl-ghs_pop_gpw4_globe_r2015a (accessed 20 June 2018). Google Scholar

FOTHERGILL, S. and HOUSTON, D. (2016), ‘Are big cities really the motors of UK regional economic growth?’ Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 9, 319–34. Google Scholar

FRICK, S. and RODRÍGUEZ-POSE, A. (2016), ‘Average city size and economic growth’, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 9, 301–18. Google Scholar

FRIEDMANN, J. (1986), ‘The world city hypothesis’, Development and Change, 17, 69–83. Google Scholar

FRIEDMAN, T. L. (2005), The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Google Scholar

GILLHAM, O. (2002), The Limitless City: A Primer on the Urban Sprawl Debate, Washington, DC, Island Press. Google Scholar

GOTTMANN, J. (1961), Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States, New York, Twentieth Century Fund. Google Scholar

GRIFFITHS, P., HOSTERT, P., GRUEBNER, O. and VAN DER LINDEN, S. (2010), ‘Mapping megacity growth with multi-sensor data’, Remote Sensing of Environment, 114, 426–39. Google Scholar

HARDING, A. and BLOKLAND, T. (2014), Urban Theory: A Critical Introduction to Power, Cities and Urbanism in the 21st Century, London, Sage. Google Scholar

HARVEY, D. (1985), The Urbanization of Capital, Baltimore, Presses universitaires de France. Google Scholar

HAUGHTON, G., DEAS, I. and HINCKS, S. (2014), ‘Commentary. Making an impact: when agglomeration boosterism meets anti-planning rhetoric’, Environment and Planning A, 46, 265–70. Google Scholar

HUNT, A. and WATKISS, P. (2011), ‘Climate change impacts and adaptation in cities: a review of the literature’, Climatic Change, 104, 13–49. Google Scholar

JENKS, M. and BURGESS, R. (2000), Compact Cities: Sustainable Urban Forms for Developing Countries, London, Taylor & Francis. Google Scholar

KLOTZ, M., KEMPER, T., GEIß, C., ESCH, T. and TAUBENBÖCK, H. (2016), ‘How good is the map? A multi-scale cross-comparison framework for global settlement layers: evidence from Central Europe’, Remote Sensing of Environment, 178, 191–212. Google Scholar

KOONINGS, K. and KRUIJT, D. (2013), Megacities: The Politics of Urban Exclusion and Violence in the Global South, London, Zed Books. Google Scholar

KORCELLI, P. and KORCELLI-OLEJNICZAK, E. (2018), ‘From metropolis to megacity’, in J. Kleer and K. A. Nawrot (eds), Rise of Megacities: The Challenges, Opportunities and Unique Characteristics, London, World Scientific Publishing Group Ltd, 61–76. Google Scholar

KOURTIT, K., NIJKAMP, P. and GEYER, H. S. (2015), ‘Managing the urban century’, International Planning Studies, 20, 1–3. Google Scholar

KRÄMER, A., KHAN, M. H. and KRAAS, F. (2011), Health in Megacities and Urban Areas, Berlin, Springer-Verlag. Google Scholar

McCANN, P. and ACS, Z. (2011), ‘Globalization: countries, cities and multinationals’, Regional Studies, 45, 17–32. Google Scholar

McFARLANE, C. (2011), ‘The city as assemblage: dwelling and urban space’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29, 649–71. Google Scholar

McGEE, T. G. (1991), ‘The emergence of Desakota regions in Asia: expanding a hypothesis’, in N. Ginsburg, B. Koppel and T. G. McGee (eds), The Extended Metropolis: Settlement Transition in Asia, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 3–28. Google Scholar

MARTIN, P. and OTTAVIANO, G. (2001), ‘Growth and agglomeration’, International Economic Review, 42, 947–68. Google Scholar

MELCHIORRI, M., FLORCZYK, A., FREIRE, S., EHRLICH, D., SCHIAVINA, M., PESARESI, M. and KEMPER, T. (2018), ‘Megacities spatiotemporal dynamics monitored with the Global Human Settlement Layer’ (conference paper delivered at the Compentence Center of Urban and Regional Planning (CORP), 2018). Google Scholar

MOLINA, M. and MOLINA, L. (2004), ‘Megacities and atmospheric pollution’, Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, 54, 644–80. Google Scholar

MOLOTCH, H. (1976), ‘The city as a growth machine: towards a political economy of place’, American Journal of Sociology, 82, 309–32. Google Scholar

MOULD, O. (2015), ‘A limitless urban theory? A response to Scott and Storper’s “The nature of cities: The scope and limits of urban theory”’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 40, 1. Google Scholar

MOULD, O. (2016), ‘A limitless urban theory? A response to Scott and Storper’s “The nature of cities: the scope and limits of urban theory”’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 40, 157–63. Google Scholar

NICHOLLS, R. (1995), ‘Coastal megacities and climate change’, Geoforum, 37, 369–79. Google Scholar

ONS (OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS) (2018), Land Area and Population Density, https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/land-area-and-population-density-ward-and-borough (accessed 25 June 2019). Google Scholar

PESARESI, M., EHRLICH, D., FERRI, S., FLORCZYK, A., FREIRE, S., HALKIA, M., JULEA, M., KEMPER, T., SOILLE, P. and SYRRIS, V. (2016), Operating Procedure for the Production of the Global Human Settlement Layer from Landsat Data of the Epochs 1975, 1990, 2000, and 2014, Publications Office of the European Union. Google Scholar

PHILIPPINE STATISTICS AUTHORITY (2017), Population of the National Capital Region (Based on the 2015 Census of Population), https://psa.gov.ph/content/population-national-capital-regionbased-2015-census-population-0 (accessed 1 June 2017). Google Scholar

RAE, A. and SINGLETON, A. (2015), ‘Putting big data in its place: a regional studies and regional science perspective’, Regional Studies, Regional Science, 2, 1–5. Google Scholar

ROY, A. (2009), ‘The 21st century metropolis: new geographies of theory’, Regional Studies, 43, 819–30. Google Scholar

SASSEN, S. (1991), Global City, Princeton, Princeton University Press. Google Scholar

SCOTT, A. and STORPER, M. (2003), ‘Regions, globalization, development’, Regional Studies, 37, 579–93. Google Scholar

SCOTT, A. and STORPER, M. (2015), ‘The nature of cities: the scope and limits of urban theory’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39, 1–15. Google Scholar

SORENSEN, A. and OKATA, J. (2010), Megacities: Urban Form, Governance, and Sustainability, London, Springer. Google Scholar

STATISTICS JAPAN (2017), Statistics Japan: Data, http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/ (accessed 1 June 2017). Google Scholar

STORPER, M. and SCOTT, A. (2016), ‘Current debates in urban theory: a critical assessment’, Urban Studies, 53, 1114–36. Google Scholar

TAUBENBÖCK, H., ESCH, T., FELBIER, A., WIESNER, M., ROTH, A. and DECH, S. (2012), ‘Monitoring urbanization in mega cities from space’, Remote Sensing of Environment, 117, 162–76. Google Scholar

TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT (2017), Tokyo’s History, Geography, and Population, http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/ABOUT/HISTORY/history03.htm (accessed 1 June 2017). Google Scholar

UN (2016), The World’s Cities in 2016, New York, United Nations. Google Scholar

UNCHSUD (2016), Habitat III: New Urban Agenda, New York, United Nations. Google Scholar

VAN DER PLOEG, F. and POELHEKKE, S. (2008), ‘Globalization and the rise of mega-cities in the developing world’, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 1, 477–501. Google Scholar

WANG, H., ZHANG, X. and SKITMORE, M. (2015), ‘Implications for sustainable land use in high-density cities: evidence from Hong Kong’, Habitat International, 50, 23–34. Google Scholar

WEI, C., TAUBENBÖCK, H. and BLASCHKE, T. (2017), ‘Measuring urban agglomeration using a city-scale dasymetric population map: a study in the Pearl river delta, China’, Habitat International, 59, 32–43. Google Scholar

WONG, C. (2015), ‘A framework for “City Prosperity Index”: linking indicators, analysis and policy’, Habitat International, 45, 3–9. Google Scholar

WONG, C., BAKER, M., WEBB, B., HINCKS, S. and SCHULZE BÄING, A. (2015), ‘Mapping policies and programmes: the use of GIS to communicate spatial relationships in England’, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 42, 1020–39. Google Scholar

YE, L. (2013), ‘Urban transformation and institutional policies: case study of mega-region development in China’s Pearl river delta’, Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 139, 292–300. Google Scholar

ZHANG, Q. and SETO, K. (2011), ‘Mapping urbanization dynamics at regional and global scales using multi-temporal DMSP/OLS nighttime light data’, Remote Sensing of Environment, 115, 2320–29. Google Scholar

ZOOK, M., BAROCAS, S., BOYD, D., CRAWFORD, K., KELLER, E., GANGADHARAN, S. P., GOODMAN, A., HOLLANDER, R., KOENIG, B. A., METCALF, J., NARAYANAN, A., NELSON, A. and PASQUALE, F. (2017), ‘Ten simple rules for responsible big data research’, PLoS Compututational Biology, 13, https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005399 (accessed 27 August 2019). Google Scholar

ANDRADE, L. H., WANG, Y.-P., ANDREONI, S., SILVEIRA, C. M., ALEXANDRINO-SILVA, C., SIU, E. R., NISHIMURA, R., ANTHONY, J. C., GATTAZ, W. F., KESSLER, R. C. and VIANA, M. C. (2012), ‘Mental disorders in megacities: findings from the São Paulo megacity mental health survey, Brazil’, PLoS ONE, 7, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0031879 (accessed 27 August 2019). Google Scholar

BAGAN, H. and YAMAGATA, Y. (2015), ‘Analysis of urban growth and estimating population density using satellite images of nighttime lights and land-use and population data’, GIScience & Remote Sensing, 52, 765–80. Google Scholar

BARUA, M. and JELLIS, T. (2018), Vocabularies for Urban Futures: Critical Reflections (report delivered by the British Academy), British Academy, University of Oxford. Google Scholar

BATTY, M. (2004), ‘Dissecting the streams of planning history: technology versus policy through models’, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 31, 326–30. Google Scholar

BATTY, M., and LONGLEY, P. A. (1994), Fractal Cities: A Geometry of Form and Function, London, Academic Press. Google Scholar

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Hoole, Charlotte

Hincks, Stephen

Rae, Alasdair