Tuesday, July 30, 2013

7 continents reading challenge: Megacity books, maps, walks, lists..

The fourth task of the 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books Reading challenge is to read a book from one of the megacities of our world.

When does a city turn into a megacity? 
One of the most common definitions for a megacity is: a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of 10 million people. Following this definition, the first megacity of the world was New York City, which reached the 10 million mark in 1950. Today, there are about 30 megacities, with the largest of them situated in Asia.


Megacity list + map

The 7 largest megacities
  • Tokyo, Japan (35,6 mio) 
  • Jakarta, Indonesia (28,1 mio) 
  • Seoul, South Korea (25,6 mio) 
  • Shanghai, China (25,3 mio) 
  • Karachi, Pakistan (23,5 mio) 
  • Mexico City, Mexico (23,2 mio) 
  • Dehli, India (23 mio)
European + American megacities
Here's a look at megacities by continents:
  • North American megacities:
    New York (#11)
    Los Angeles (#22)
  • European megacities:
    Moscow (#15)
    London (#28)
    Paris (#30)
All listings above are based on the megacity statistic in wikipedia. The eductional website wfs put a map together that both inludes large cities with a population of more than a million citizens, and megacities with more than 10 millions - and arrives at the following map:

From countryside to city
Some interesting key facts connected to megacities: Our world is a world in change:  for the first time, there are more people living in cities than in rural areas - a dramatic shift in human history. In 1800, only 3% of the world's population lived in cities. Now it's every second person. And many of those who move to big cities start live there in slums: almost one-seventh of the world's population  - one billion people - now live in shanty towns.


Books set in megacities
It's not easy to find books set in megacities - when searching books by city name, or by the keyword "megacity", often travel guides come up, or non-fiction books, but there also are some book lists that refer to fiction set in cities:

Megacity book list

"It would be handy to have a booklist that focuses on megacities" - that was a thought that repeatedly came up while looking for megacity books. And as Goodreads makes it easy to start lists, I now pulled together the information from the various sources and started a megacity booklist The list focuses on novels and short story collections set in megacities, here are some recommendations with short summaries:
  • Tokyo: “After Dark” by Haruki Murakami is a novel set in metropolitan Tokyo over the course of one night. 
  • Seoul: "Please Look After Mom" by Kyung-Sook Shin is a bestseller in Korea: a stunning family story set in Seoul and rural Korea 
  • "Shanghai Baby"  by Weihui Zhou - Set in the city of Shanghai, the novel follows the days, and nights, of Coco, who waits tables in a café, and provides an alternative travelogue into the back streets of a city and the escapades of today's liberated youth. 
  • "Paris Was Ours": 32 different perspectives on living in this European megacity Paris– some from the city centre, some from the outskirts
  • "Brick Lane": a novel that leads from the mud and heat of a Bangladeshi village to a flat in a high-rise block in London's East End
  • "Open City": a novel that both tells about migration, life, and guilt, and that reflects on city life – it leads from New York to Europe and Africa, processing both personal and historic past and present.
  • The full list is online at Goodreads / Megacities, feel free to add own reads and recommendations for megacity books.

Walking the world's megacities

The Guardian is featuring a  megacity travel guides series  this year, with photo galleries, megacity walks, audio slideshows & more. Starting in January 2013, this series so far includes Tokyo, New York, Mexico City, Shanghai and Seoul


More Megacity links

CNN Urban Planet
Half of the world's population already lives in urban areas -- and that figure is poised to swell. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, more than two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities. With the rapid pace of urbanization, the race is on to improve the quality of life and health of city dwellers. Urban Planet explores what's being done to create better cities and better lives for the people who live in them.
Megacity wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megacity

Megacities Film
Film director Michael Glawogger created a trilogy of globalization films - one of it focuses on "Megacities". more about it here: Glawoggers's GlobalizationTrilogy. The subtitle means: "12 stories of survival".

Megacity Research Project
An international, interdisciplinary research program that consists of 10 projects, including research in the Pearl River Delta (China) and Dhaka (Bangladesh).

World future society
An educational website with focus on future trends. The map above is part of their article: 
In 2025 630 Million of Us Will Live in 37 Megacities


Global Reading Challenge

This blog post belongs to the 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books Reading challenge - more direct links:

A book from one of the 7 countries with the most population

From most populated to the mountains:
A book from one of the 7 highest countries in the world

From high to old:
A book from one of the 7 oldest countries of the world


Arenel said...

How I like your thematic posts for this challenge! So many useful links! I'll come back on the weekend when I have more time to study it thoroughly and choose a book for this category.

Dorothee said...

Ekaterina: so glad you enjoy the posts. it was especially interesting to put this one together, with the global trends connected to megacities, and with the book browsing.