Rapid Urban Growth

Riley —  February 24, 2011 — Leave a comment

Over the last few decades, we’ve seen a rapid migration toward urban centers, a trend that is only expected to increase in years to come. I don’t have the statistics on hand, so I can’t throw out the big numbers (can anyone help me out here?), but most demographers agree that the human future is a metropolitan future. This trend has had big impacts on the physical structure of our cities, as more people require more housing, more services, and create a larger economy.

Web Urbanist just posted an article that showcases this infrastructural growth called ” The Stunning Speed of Urban Development.” It contrasts photos of the same area from different years, and for some of the cities the results are particularly mind-boggling. Take Dubai for instance.

These photos are from 1990, 2003, and 2007, respectively. Just 17 years ago Dubai was a remote desert area, but now it’s one of the most developed areas in the world. The even more startling example though is Shanghai, China, a city that we now think of as one of the economic and social center of China.

That image on top isn’t from way back in the past, it’s from 1990. In just 20 years a truly massive urban environment managed to spring up from a large town. These kinds of images really drive home how fast our cities our growing, and call attention to what kind of architectural and infrastructural solutions are called for in the world today.

Check out the rest of the images here.



Riley MacPhee is a recent graduate of Pomona College with a B.A. in Environmental Design and a minor in Philosophy, and has been writing for the JA blog for the last 3 years. He is passionate about architecture and design, and will be applying to M.Arch programs in the fall.

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