Potamic Books, 2012
We live in an age of the city. "By 2015," write the authors, "there will be six hundred cities on the planet with populations of 1 million or more, and fifty-eight with population over 5 million. By 2025 there will be twenty-seven cities with populations greater then ten million." The authors warn that this is happening in countries least prepared for it. A review from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars describes the book as about "where and how geopolitics will play out in the twenty-first century." The authors Liotta and Miskel are concerned about gigantic cities becoming "havens for terrorists and criminal networks, as well as sources of major environmental depletion." There may be "collective rage, despair, and hunger." They add, "And when inhabitants tire of the lawlessness, poverty and instability of the megacities [cities with populations greater than 10 million], they will lever – those that can – bringing violence with them."
Paris, London and New York emerged as major cities without having experienced the spurts of growth of such cities as Dhaka (Bangladesh). Across the entire 1800s London's population increased by 7 times. From 1950 to 2015 the population of Lagos (Nigeria) is expected to have grown 25 times, Kinshasa (DR Congo) 50 times, Karachi (Pakistan) by 200 times. The authors write of hope while "time is running short," and some disaster already exists.
According to the authors a 2006 United Nations study of urban air quality found "that Cairo's was the second worst in the world." New York and Los Angeles had "one-sixth as many particles per cubic meter as Cairo." Cairo has a "high incident of lung disease and other medical problems." And there is New Delhi, the city reported in 2006 as having worse air pollution than Cairo. Karachi (Pakistan) is another city with extensive air pollution.
"Infrastructure for many municipal services (schools, clinics, fire statesi, police stations, wastewater treatment facilities. and wanter mains).. requires substantial and clostly expansion."
"Megacity authorities have made little or no servius effort to endorce building codes or to regulate where people actually set down roots." There are squatter communities, evictions from which overburden legitimate housing.
"The Egyptian government recognizes that disorder in Cairo threatens the stability of the entire state and, for that matter, the entire region."
"Egypt ... addresses the symptoms (disorder) rather than the disease (overcrowding, poverty, unemployment, pollution, and ineffective governance).
"That slums [in Pakistan] in which half of the population resides,,, are not effectivly policed at all means insurgents will be able to rest, recharge their batteries, and raise fund right in the heart of urgan Paikstan. At some point they will bring their fight against the government to the cities and are already finding pools of recruits among legions of discontented, unemployed, and impoverished young men."
"According to recent stdies, a majrity of Taliban foot soldiers in Afghanistan are motivated less by Islamist ideology than by need for money, desire for camaraderies, anti-Americanism, and mutual disgust for the states quo."
The city of Tegucigalpa in Honduras appears to belong to the problem cities referred to by the authors. In 1961 it had a population listed as 164,961. It's population for 2011 is 7.2 times that: 1,187,363. According to Wikipedia on June 1, 2013, "Both the city's population and metro area are expected to double by 2029." Poverty is rampant, gangs proliferate and, according to Wikipedia, "Honduras has the world's highest murder rate."
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