Great Cities: Rise of the Megalopolis

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Great Cities: Rise of the Megalopolis (52:00)
Item# 40204

In 1950, only two of the world’s urban centers boasted populations of eight million or more. Today, dozens of cities contain at least that many people, with dozens more pushing to join the list. This program surveys the emergence and development of the megacity—both as an intellectual concept and as a physical phenomenon that is altering the face of the planet. The film examines present-day issues associated with the mammoth metropolis, including poverty, unemployment, rampant crime, poor or nonexistent health care, and air and water pollution. While many problems are studied in the context of the developing world, the program clearly ties them to Western cities as well. (51 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (14)

1. Megacities of the Future (02:25)
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In 1950, only three of the world's urban centers boasted populations of 8 million of more: London, New York, and Tokyo. By 2015, there will be more than 30 megacities--many in the Third World.

2. Historical Evolution of Cities (02:10)

Early humans lived nomadic lives until the development of agriculture. Over the past 300 years, technical advances and the need for manual labor triggered the rapid development of cities.

3. Changes in City Design (03:13)

Before the 20th century, cities were planned in a military way. Today, it is difficult to define a city's limits. In America, Africa, and Asia, migration into the cities poses challenges to city planners.

4. Megacities: Pros and Cons (04:14)

Uncontrolled growth of large cities causes social inequality. The megacity has been transformed into a conflict zone, an ecosystem in which violence and terror reign. Cities also constitute the main growth engines of the nation.

5. Cities Attract Immigrants (05:14)

What was once life in the natural environs of the countryside has become one of almost complete artificiality. Urbanization is rapidly advancing on the planet. Cities attract immigrants from rural areas who want job opportunities.

6. Dilemma of Urban Development (04:13)

Most civic authorities do not have the financial capabilities of receiving the massive influx of immigrants. Billions of people across the world live in shacks with no water or electricity. The growth of inequality is the potential downfall of megacities.

7. Social, Economic, and Environmental Problems (04:00)

A widespread lack of housing and precarious living conditions are the root of most social, economic, and environmental problems. These problems persist because of a lack of will, corruption, waste, and bad administration.

8. Accelerated Urbanization (03:15)

Rapid urbanization, even in Western cities like Rome and Paris, suffer from outlying shantytowns that grow right along with the city. This overflow of both rich and poor suburbs seems to be unstoppable everywhere in the world.

9. Urbanization and Pollution (02:01)

Cars and traffic are primarily responsible for pollution in major cities. In developing nations, gasoline is of poor quality, and vehicles lack proper filtration systems. The results are devastating pollution in countries that cannot afford to fix it.

10. Definition of Megalopolis (02:20)

The term megalopolis refers to a continuous stretch of urban space hundreds of kilometers long between two or more cities that eventually unite. On the East Coast, one such megalopolis exists with Boston and Washington DC on either end.

11. American and European Megalopolises (04:02)

A megalopolis in the Midwest sprawls form Chicago to Pittsburgh. On the West Coast, the San-San megalopolis spreads between San Francisco and San Diego. Europe's megalopolises include one in the UK and the other along the Rhine River.

12. Medium-Sized Cities (03:16)

Medium-sized cities may be the new formula for high quality of life. An example of this kind of city is Vitoria, Spain.

13. Japan's Megalopolis (05:18)

Tokaido, Japan's megalopolis of 45 million inhabitants, is built around the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe. Decentralization policies limit industrial activity and construction.

14. Importance of Megacities (03:57)

Cities are the engines of social, economic, and environmental development in this century. Poor people in cities have a better quality of life than those in rural areas. Mass population is mankind's solution to its demographic problems.

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