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IB AN OI HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY REVISION
Theme : Mega Cities
Definition: (United Nations)
Result from the process of Urbanisation
MEDCs the pace of urbanisation has slowed or stopped (or gone into reverse: counter-urbanisation).
LEDCs in contrast, characterised by rapid urbanisation that is expected to continue for decades.
A comparison of the lists of megacities between 1950 and 1994 demonstrates a remarkable shift in the global distribution of the largest cities from MEDCs to LEDCs.
Megacities: Growing in number and expanding rapidly
Average population of the megacities was
Number of megacities is rapidly particularly in LEDCs
What functions/roles are important within these large urban areas?
Finance: Cities such as London, Hong Kong and New York have developed their financial cores. Functions include currency exchange, purchasing stocks and shares, insurance, futures trading and banking. The advent of 24 hour trading has been a vital factor in the growth of world trade ie when one financial center closes for the day, transactions are made in another center in a different time zone e.g. London followed by Singapore.
Manufacturing: Capital intensive, automated and large scale. Dominated by MNCs. Activity often concentrated in special zones on the periphery of large cities. e.g. Shanghai.
Administration: Some governments have decentralised decision making away from capital cities e.g. Sydney, Shanghai, Los Angeles, and Toronto. Other cities are home to organisations that have an international decision making role e.g. Brussels (EU), Washington (World Bank), London (Commonwealth).
Cultural: Cities display a global influence in setting and inspiring ideas and trends. Religion e.g. Mecca (Muslims), media e.g. London (BBC), education e.g. Oxford (University), fashion e.g. Paris (YSL, Dior) can be used as examples here.
Trading Centers: Historically, these have been cities which have developed around a port eg Rotterdam and Shanghai where manufactured goods could be imported and exported. However, with the development of the service economy, which involves the transaction of intangible goods, some cities have become major trading centers e.g. Zurich (Finance).
Recreational: Tourism is now the world's largest industry and large cities generate significant amounts of revenue from travel and tourism e.g. Bangkok
Transport and Communication: Major cities are a focus for a highly centralised road, rail and air network. The advent of fibre optic cables and the increased use of the internet both for information and e-commerce have secured the position of many large cities in the developed world within the global market.
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