Last Updated 15 Jun 2020

Challenges of Living in a Mega City

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Describe the challenges of living in mega cities and evaluate the responses to these challenges A Mega City is defined as a city home to more than 8 million people, the urban sprawl of these cities is continuing to dominate the landscapes of these major cities. These cities have been unable to cope with the rapid increase of people moving to these urban areas, in some mega cities this is up to 1 million people per day, leading to a lack of supplies and services, becoming a major characteristic of these cities. The challenges that they face include the lack of water, power supply, sanitation, transport and employment.

The responses to these problems from the governments vary in the successfulness and based on the sustainability of social, economical, political and environmental; we can see the downfall and the accomplishment of some solutions the governments have implemented. Transport is one of the main challenges of mega cities where traffic jams take up as much as 4 working hours sitting in traffic causing major problems for businesses and these cities economies. Lack of water within these mega cities is another problem which affects a vast amount of people.

The third challenge is housing within these mega cities. Transport is a major challenge for people who live in these mega cities. The lack of efficient public transport and the growing number of personal cars on the roads cause major traffic jams which hold people up for hours trying to get to and from work. There are many issues associated with the problem of transport, including growing health concerns for people dwelling in the cities. Loss of working hours has become a consequence because of the overwhelming time spent sitting in traffic jams.

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Bangkok sees traffic jams which cause a loss of 2 working hours every day leading to financial loss. This issue of transport continues to grow due to the lack of maintenance on the roads, lack of space allocated to roads, poor modes of public transport and the lack of financial resources that the government has to provide infrastructure for improvement of these roads. There have been many different attempts in mega cities to improve their infrastructure and transport modes, some have been more successful than others, depending on their sustainability.

The Metrobus, created in Mexico City by a non government organisation called CEIBA, partnered with the Mexico City government, this system was developed to provide a more efficient and safer public transport. The development of the MetroBus allows the bus to run from North to South Mexico City in a separate lane to other traffic, with its own stations for people to get on and off at various stops this method of public transport has been seen as a great success, now moving 450 000 passengers per day, replacing 300 micro busses which were highly polluting.

The use of the MetroBus has resulted in $306,000 for reduction in carbon emissions by the Spanish carbon fund, boosting the economy for Mexico City, having taken 144 tonnes of hydrocarbons associated with cancer and other health problems out of the atmosphere, and 2. 8 tonnes of bio-particulate matter know to cause asthmas, chronic bronchitis and lung disease. The environmental factors of the Metro bus prove the success of this infrastructure.

The new employment opportunities that the MetroBus has created and the shift of 6% from private to public use of transport, providing a clean, safe and comfortable way to use public transport, proving a social benefit to this project. The increase in international recongnition due to the increasing sustainability and the increase in political stability due to the boost in trust and investment in infrastructure has proven the political success of the MetroBus. Mexico City has implemented a successful and sustainable method of transport which has proven to be a good response to the challenge of transport that mega cities all face.

The second challenge that mega cities face with their growing population is housing within these cities. With the rapid increase of people coming into these cities everyday, it is impossible to keep track of the housing and provide people with land ownership. This problem extenuates the gap being made between the people who have and the people who don’t. The continued expanse of the slums being built around these cities creates the informal economy and account for mass amounts of the population. For example, 50% of the population in Mexico City lives in these conditions.

This form of housing leads to lack of tenure and a lack of utilities available for these people to use, including basic needs such as food and water, rubbish collection, provision of sewerage and the lack of services and utilities. These houses have unsafe infrastructure as the building materials used are all makeshift and unstable, making their living environments hazardous. This challenge exists in mega cities because of the rapidly increasing population, the government cannot provide for these people and cannot maintain housing standards.

A response to this housing challenge in mega cities was the Dharavi redevelopment. Dharavi is India’s largest slum, located in the middle of India’s financial capital Mumbai. This slum covers an area of only 2 km2 yet is home to up to a million people with 86, 000 slum structures. The housing in this slum is cheap and affordable and it is estimated that it generates $650 million a year. The challenges within this slum are the extreme overcrowding and uncontrolled construction of makeshift housing.

As well as the lack of basic amenities, there is no clean water supply, no waste collection, spread of disease is very high and with the constant threat of eviction by authorities, this slum has become a major challenge in this mega city. The slum redevelopment project has divided Dharavi into 5 sectors and requested proposals from real estate investors around the world to provide a 300 sqf flat to each family that can prove they have been settled in Dharavi before the year 2000, in exchange for their re housing, the builders get construction rights in Dharavi.

The Dharavi project has not yet been completed although there are social, economical and environmental factors that can be seen in an evaluation of its sustainability and success. The Dharavi project creates social problems for the families who will be displaced, having failed to prove their residence before 2000, this deadline will make many people homeless, and with no place to go, sending thousands of people out of the city.

Although this development will make Dharavi a safer place to be, building stable structures and developing better access to water and food supplies as well as developing a sewerage system and rubbish disposal. This will stop the vast spreading of disease through the slum, creating a healthier and safer living environment. The economy would suffer from their redevelopment of the Dharavi slum as they bring in millions of dollars to the economy, the loss of this would be detrimental to the cities economy.

There would be few political benefits to this development as there would be a loss in trust of the government, after displacing so many people. The response to this housing challenge in Dharavi can be seen as both successful and unsuccessful, due to the many positives and negatives of this project. In conclusion, we can see that mega cities face many challenges which affect their economy, politics, culture and environment. The governments are implementing many strategies and projects which they hope will solve the challenges that their cities face.

The challenge of housing and transport are both big challenges which impact enormously on the mega cities. As 3 million person working hours are lost per day, due to the constant transport battle and the extreme over crowing of the slum housing, we can see that there are major challenges that these cities face, although some strategies implemented for these challenges have been dubbed unsuccessful, there are a few which have proved to be doing well for example, the MetroBus in Mexico City. There are many challenges being faced in Megacities.

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