World cities

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o   As of 2007 more people live in urban areas than rural

o   The UN predicts that by 2020 over 53% of the population will live in cities

o   The world’s urban population will be 5 billion by 2030

o   The changing urban balance:

o   By 2025 just 2 of the 10 largest metropolitan areas will be located in the developing world

o   Urban population growth has risen dramatically by 2.3% annually since 2000

o   The share of urban population in developing countries will rise sharply



o   By 2005, there were 336 millionaire cities in the world

o   City regions or agglomerations called megacities – by 1999 only 25% of the world’s megacities were in the developed world, since 2000 11 of the world’s megacities have experienced population growth below 1.5%



“Cities were the workings of the global economy are channelled with its capital, knowledge, expertise, financial and political stability.”

As hubs, world cities have four key characteristics:

1.   Hubs of business, transport and trade

o   Cores with strong connections to the rest of the world e.g. internet, air, electronic communication

2.   Production hubs

o   World cities make decisions about marketing and production across the world in TNCs

3.   Political hubs

o   Often dictate trading and economic links between countries

o   Influence and participate in international events e.g. g8

o   Promote political and financial support

4.   Migrant hubs

o   Attract large numbers of qualified, talented people who are globally mobile

o   Increasingly diverse populations


Key facts:

o   Cities dominate and influence well beyond their own national borders

o   Hong Kong has more tourists annually than all of India

o   In 2010 Tokyo’s GDP was similar to Canada

o   London generates 40% of the UK’s GDP

o   By 2020 2 billion people globally will consume us$20trillion in goods and services

o   Rapid urbanisation in developing countries

o   China grew by 3.3 million people in the first decade of the 21st century



o   This decade, the fastest-growing cities were in Asia and Africa

o   Urban populations, this decade, grew on average by 3% annually

o   Nigeria grew by the greatest percentage – 139.7%


Why are cities growing so quickly?

1.   Natural increase

o   The difference between births and deaths

o   There tends to be more young people in cities as it is the young that are most likely to migrate from rural areas. They then have children meaning the rates of natural increase are higher in cities

2.   Rural-urban migration

o   Push factors = poverty, lack of food, war

o   Pull factors = jobs, housing, healthcare, education

o   Rural to urban migration can be


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