Tafterjournal n. 86 - GENNAIO FEBBRAIO 2016

Megacities: Urban Form, Governance, and Sustainability


Rubrica: Libri

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Recently we can see several changes in our society but one of the most important is the transformation of human settlement systems.
It is important to consider that for the first time in the history of the human, more than half the world’s population is urban.
The megacities are the effect of this globe’s transformation; while in 1950 there were only two cities in the world with a population of more than ten million people, New York and Tokyo, by 2025 that number will increase to 27.


So it is really important for us understanding not just how the current megacities are changing, but also of how to make these giant cities more liveable.
This book examines how issues of megacity development, urban form, sustainability, and unsustainability are conceived, and how governance processes are influenced by these ideas.


Through 15 in-depth case studies by excellent researcher from around the the world, Megacities analyse the major challenges for the cities today. The point of view of the authors is not to cherry-pick the story of success but point out how the development and sustainability are conceived and the influence by the governance.


Also the classification of Megacities open different definition: a population of four million for Dogan and Kasarda, eight million for Richardson or ten million for Ward. But the number is not really important. The main factor is distinguished between megacities in developed and developing countries.
While a city like London took over a century to grow from one to seven million people, Tokyo took half a time, like Delhi. In fact, cities in developing countries are growing faster than cities in Europe.


Recent research suggests that the fundamental difference is not just wealth but speed and timing of growth. According to “urban environmental transition” hypothesis, cities go through a sequence of environmental challenges as they get wealthier.
In the first stage cities must deal with “brown” environmental issues, for example like clean water. Than, as cities increase in industrial development, “grey” issues of water and air pollution become more important.


In the last stage the “green” environmental agenda of sustainable ecosystems become really important.
The main point of this book it’s understanding the way to achieve the better environments without destroying the flexibility, affordability, and dynamism of these big cities.


Indeed, it is necessary not to imagine a perfectly sustainable megacity, but the real challenge is imagine cities that contribute to sustainable development.
Some of the main question analysed by the authors are: “What are the most pressing pressing issues of sustainability and urban form in each megacity? How are major issues of sustainability understood and framed by the policymakers? Is urban form considered a significant component of sustainability issues in public debates and public policy? Who are the key actors in framing urban sustainability challenges and in shaping urban change? How is unsustainability, risk, or disaster imagined?”


The publication of this book is an important step toward answering these and more other question. This book collects various researches took between 2003 and 2010 and presented in a workshop which had taken place in Tokyo, the largest megacity in the world.


So, this book is the result of that intensive and fruitful workshop.



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Urban Form, Governance, and Sustainability
Springer, 2011
A.Sorenser J. Okata editor
Euro 139.00

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