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History and Geography
Essays - Past Examples and Models Index

History

Start for Arab-Israeli Essay
Cuban Missile Crisis
France During World War II
Middle East 1948-1982
Origins of the Cold War
International Relations 1953-1962
Labour Governments 1945-1951

Geography

Developing Strategies
Agriculture in LEDCs
Urbanisation
Population Politics (Comparative Table)
World Cities
Globalisation

 

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Role of Megacities

Some megacities have emerged as global or "world cities" e.g. London, New York, Paris, Tokyo etc..

Definition: A World City is a metropolitan area "in which a disproportionate share of the world's most important business is conducted." - Hall 1996
Not all megacities display the characteristics of a World City.

Megacity

  • Single function - one role dominates the city

  • Multi function - more than one role dominates the city

  • Multi-faceted - different roles and functions performed within the city and its hinterland

  • Multi-faceted international significance (World Cities)- a city that has a global role/function in several spheres e.g. retailing and manufacturing and finance

Some megacities (world cities) act as centers for the global economy. They have become key command and control points for global capitalism. Such centers are distinguished by the range and strength of their economic power. They are:

  • Major financial centers

  • Manufacturing and transport centers

  • Location for headquarters of MNCs

  • Have a number of international institutions.

  • Growth of business centers

London has much in common with other megacities that are world cities, such as Paris, New York and Tokyo. Similar contemporary issues face them e.g. the globalisation on the economy:

 

IB AN OI HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY REVISION

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Theme : Mega Cities

Definition: (United Nations)
Cities with population of 8 million or more. Example: Tokyo 26m. Largest city in the world since 1970.

Result from the process of Urbanisation

  • an increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas. MEDCs high levels of urbanisation

  • more than 75% of the population in Europe, N. America, Japan and Australia/New Zealand were urban dwellers in 1994 and by 2025 80% of people in these regions are expected to live in urban areas.

 

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.

1970-25% of LEDCs population living in urban areas

1994-40% of LEDCs population living in urban areas

2025-60% (4 billion people) of LEDCs population living in urban areas

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

1990-over 5m people

1950-2.1m people

1800-200 000 people

 

Number of megacities is rapidly particularly in LEDCs

1950-New York and London

1970-11

1994-22 (LEDCs-16 MEDCs-6)

2015-33 (LEDCs-27 MEDCs-6)

 

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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