Slums Are Home to Almost One Billion People

I spent some time in London this week. The city has a special place in my heart and that’s not only because the Tate Modern gallery is located there. Although it’s a big part of it. This power-plant-turned museum can–perhaps like no other modern art museum–truly catch the Zeitgeist.

Fortunately, I was able to catch the very last day of the Global Cities exhibit; a fascinating expose of the changing faces of ten global cities: Cairo, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, Sao Paolo, Shanghai and Tokyo. It explores how each of them deal with its size, diversity, density, form and speed of growth.

Interesting stats:

  • In 2007, for the first time in history, one out of every two people in the world will be living in a city
  • One of of three city dwellers (almost one billion) currently live in slums
  • Cities produce 75 percent of the world’s carbon emissions
  • London is the world’s 360th fastest growing city, adding only 2.3 residents an hour
  • Shanghai is the 8th fastest growing city in the world, adding 29.4 new residents each hour
  • 66 percent of the population of Sao Paolo is under 20 years old
  • Cairo’s residential density is 36,500/km2, nine times more than London’s
  • Tokyo is the largest urban region in the world with 34 millions people, 80% of which use public transportation daily (comparing with 10% of LA residents)