Megacities in Asia Pacific - Statistics & Facts

The term “megacity” refers to cities with a population of more than ten million people. Depending on the source, a megacity can be defined as an urban agglomeration or a metropolitan area. According to the Joint Research Centre of the European Union, Guangzhou is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with approximately 40.59 million inhabitants.

One of the main topics of concern in megacities is the cost of living. In India, Mumbai has been the most expensive housing market in the past years. However, the housing affordability in India has improved in the past eight years as of 2018. Japan, on the other hand, has experienced difficulties in providing affordable housing in the well-developed metropolitan area of Tokyo, reflected by the growth of the average land price.

The high population density in megacities can cause several problems. A dense population leads to increased traffic volumes and a greater strain on infrastructure resulting in a massive burden on the environment. According to a study published by the Worldbank, the most populated cities in the Asia Pacific region are located in Japan, India and China. Looking at China, pollution has been one of the biggest challenges. The monthly averages of the air quality index of Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing only seldomly reach the value index of 50 points, above which the air quality is considered acceptable. In a survey conducted in 2019, citizens across India were mostly concerned about the air pollution and climate change. Indonesia has only one megacity: Jakarta and its conurbation, known as Jabotabek. The economic boom of recent years has led to a greater infrastructure demand and exacerbated traffic congestion problems. Nevertheless, the majority of megacities in the Asia Pacific region were able to either decrease their traffic congestion level or hold it constant.

The global urbanization rate indicates that the emergence of megacities across Asia will continue. Measures within sustainable city development through technological innovations such as smart city development and the rising environmental awareness in society can help in managing the challenges of megacities.

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Megacities in Asia Pacific

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