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Megacities and the Environment
Alex Steffen, 18 Sep 05

Fighting poverty and protecting the environment are inextricably linked: this is especially true in the emerging megacities of the Global South. Indeed, figuring out how to build bright green megacities is one of the key challenges we'll face over the next few decades. Cities of the Future, by Divya Abhat, Shauna Dineen, Tamsyn Jones, Jim Motavalli, Rebecca Sanborn, and Kate Slomkowski, doesn't talk much about what solutions might be available, but it's a damn fine overview of the problems:

In 1950, with just 288,000 people, Lagos wasn’t even a speck on the map of the largest urban centers. Today, the rapidly growing city of 14 million in Africa’s most populous country is on its way to becoming the third-largest city in the world. By 2015, the Population Reference Bureau estimates Lagos will reach number three status with a population hovering somewhere around 23.2 million people. ..

While the city’s most affluent can afford to sequester themselves on two islands off the mainland, two-thirds of the city’s residents live at or below the poverty line in one of many slums afflicted with a slew of problems. “Unlit highways run past canyons of smoldering garbage before giving way to dirt streets weaving through 200 slums, their sewers running with raw waste,” writes Amy Otchet, a UNESCO journalist.

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