In 1990, the world was host to only ten megacities of ten million or more people. The last quarter century has seen quite the urban population explosion with more than half the world’s total population living in urban areas. According to recent UN report on World Urbanization there are now 28 megacities, only two of which are in North America.

Tokyo leads the megacity masses with a metro area population of more than 28 million people. Delhi is second with about 25 million. It is estimated that by 2030 the world will have 41 total megacities. As these cities grow, the world’s rural population is expected to shrink. According to the UN report, this is good news for Planet Earth.

The density of cities makes getting the population needed services cheaper and faster. Urban planning for better education, healthcare, social sustainability and environmental quality will get millions more people access to such social services than readily available in a rural setting. This will no doubt be a great challenge for planners and city governments. Cities that expand mass transit networks with sprawl, make existing infrastructure more energy efficient and use tactics like green and cool roofs to reduce urban heat island effect will be most successful in achieving a goal of overall sustainability. A person’s typical carbon footprint also decreases once they live in a city thanks in part to walkability, mass transit, access to public services and average smaller living space.

Make the metropolis more massive, why don’t we?

Read more about the report on urbanization from EcoWatch.