For the first time in a century, most of America's largest cities are growing at a faster rate than their surrounding suburbs.
"As young adults seeking a foothold in the weak job market shun home-buying and stay put in bustling urban centers," this profoundly is changing the demographic processes that create our major urban areas. "Driving the resurgence are young adults, who are delaying careers, marriage and having children amid persistently high unemployment. Burdened with college debt or toiling in temporary, lower-wage positions, they are spurning homeownership in the suburbs for shorter-term, no-strings-attached apartment living, public transit and proximity to potential jobs in larger cities." With home ownership no longer the goal and the suburbs the destination of choice, how with this affect the urban structure of or major metropolitan areas?
The past century has been defined by an epic migration of people from rural areas to the city. In 2008, for the first time in history, more of the Earth's population was living in cities than in the countryside.
This image gallery is designed "to present images from space [that] track the relentless spread of humanity." The 'slide bar' in the middle allows the viewer to scroll between before and after images of major metropolitan areas that have experienced dramatic growth in the last 10-30 years. The attached images is on Dubai, UAE. Notice the man-made islands, especially the 'archipelago' in the shape of the world that is 2.5 miles off the coast of Dubai.
The rapid increase in the number of cities home to more than 10 million people will bring huge challenges … and opportunities...
It's not just that more people now live in cities than in the rural countryside (for the first time in human history). It's not just that major cities are growing increasingly more important to the global economy. The rise of the megacities (cities over 10 million inhabitants) is a startling new phenomenon that really is something we've only seen in the last 50 years or so with the expectation that the number of megacities will double in the next 10 to 20 years (currently there are 23). This reorganization of population entails wholesale restructuring of the economic, environmental, cultural and political networks. The urban challenges that we face today are only going to become increasingly important in the future.
"Residential segregation by income has increased during the past three decades across the United States and in 27 of the nation’s 30 largest major metropolitan area, according to a new analysis of census tract and household income data by the Pew Research Center. The analysis finds that 28% of lower-income households in 2010 were located in a majority lower-income census tract, up from 23% in 1980, and that 18% of upper- income households were located in a majority upper-income census tract, up from 9% in 1980." This interactive map allows the user to explore the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. To read the article associated with this map, see: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/08/01/the-rise-of-residential-segregation-by-income/
Wealthy cities seem to have it all. Expansive, well-manicured parks. Fine dining. Renowned orchestras and theaters. More trees. Wait, trees?
I certainly wouldn't argue that trees create economic inequality, but there appears to be a strong correlation in between high income neighborhoods and large mature trees in cities throughout the world (for a scholarly reference from the Journal, Landscape and Urban Planning, see: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204607002174 ). Why is there such a connection? In terms of landscape analysis, what does this say about those who have created these environments? Why do societies value trees in cities? How does the presence of trees change the sense of place of a particular neighborhood? For more Google images that show the correlation between income and trees (and to share your own), see: http://persquaremile.com/2012/05/24/income-inequality-seen-from-space/
One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged.
There was significant publicity last year when the world population reached 7 billion. Barely a whisper was heard when the global population of slum dwellers exceeded 1 billion. When the world's population reached 7 billion, it was used as a moment to reflect on sustainable growth, resources and the common good for humanity. This 'milestone' of 1 billion slum dwellers needs to also serve as a teaching moment to reflect on urbanization, migration, human development and the underlying causes that have lead to this explosive growth primarily in the developing world.
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