Our globe had only two megacities in 1950, the rise in urbanism stimulated by numerous opportunities in the cities has taken the toll of megacities to thirty-four. It is being estimated that after 15 years the world will witness fifty megacities across the globe. No doubt the megacities are engines of growth for many and contain a basket of opportunities however, managing these cities is nonetheless a challenge, especially when most of the expansion is taking place in the developing states. Cities increase the wealth of people and they increase their productivity and are the marvels of human creation.
Graana.com through this blog brings the attention to ‘Managing the Mega Cities’; as mentioned earlier megacities are the harbinger of various opportunities however if they are not managed properly, they can become a locus of poverty, waste mismanagement, urban sprawl, pollution and slums in peripheries.
Why Should Mega Cities be Managed
The growth of cities is dependent on rural-urban migration, it is estimated that by 2050 more than 6bn people will be living in the cities. This fact is only sufficient to make a case for managing megacities furthermore, it should also be pondered how the megacities of tomorrow can manage the challenges which the cities of today face. The dark side of megacities can be observed by looking at the areas at the periphery. Whether it is Karachi or Mumbai, the increasing slums, lack of basic public facilities is a challenge common in both. Similarly, issues of waste management are faced by both cities alike while the cities are also becoming a hotspot for pollution. Hence, managing the megacities is not only a necessity of a time rather it is also a guarantee for a prosperous tomorrow.
Controlling Municipal Waste
According to the estimates, Karachi alone produces 12,000 tonnes of solid waste every day. The rapid increase in consumption coupled with the mismanagement of waste and lack of waste recycling techniques makes waste management a difficult task. In developing countries, the waste of megacities mostly ends in landfills, owing to the lack of modern methods for waste management, the waste releases toxins in the air since there is no proper mechanism for waste segregation. The developed world has given a special focus to waste management converting organic waste into compost, recycling plastic and deploying waste segregation at collection points.
One of the phenomena that are inextricably linked to the expansion of megacities pertains to the growth of suburbs or slums in the periphery of the cities. The inclusive growth of the cities including suburbs or slums in the development discourse is a major step in managing the megacities. The reason slums lie in the outskirts of the megacities is because the slums are the settlements that lie outside the bounds of the municipal authority or other regulatory bodies. Therefore, public services are missing along with the absence of basic infrastructure. Anyhow the slums are also a major part of the megacities. Thus, dealing with slums is not only a challenge but also an important part of managing megacities.
Avoiding Urban Sprawl
Sometimes the haphazard expansion of the cities can lead to urban sprawl, the concept is about the uncontrolled expansion of the cities which not only puts pressure on the authorities but it also puts pressure on the expenditures. Furthermore, urban sprawl also damages our environment which can unfold various climatic events. The urban sprawl is characterized by low-density residential societies, increased usage of private transport and the increasing urban population. Urban sprawl is not only restricted to the developing world rather it is also an urban issue in the developed world. In managing megacities, the need to contain urban sprawl is of the utmost importance.
Incorporating Sustainable Development
Last but not the least, sustainable development can provide a comprehensive framework for managing the development discourse of megacities. Since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) almost address every aspect of development in cities, therefore, the focus should be on the implementation of these goals by adopting an innovative strategy. The development agenda should be localized in context since it will help to attain the SDGs in the most comprehensive manner. Across the globe, various cities have started to develop reform agendas for the cities in their local contexts since it is easier to fill the existing gaps.