7 Billion Humans | National Geographic Magazine

Urbanization: Population shift into and out of the cities is a particularly interesting dynamic. We became an urban species just recently—fifty one percent of us now live in cities and from a green perspective that is not necessarily a bad thing. In 1800 three percent of the world’s population lived in cities. By 2007, it was fifty percent, and by 2050, seventy five percent or more will live in cities. Most of these super cities will border the world’s oceans. Three of the top twenty urban hubs are now in China—a result of the largest human migration in history when peasants moved to the cities for economic opportunity. Like all living things, in cities or not, we are hard-wired to …

7 Billion Humans | National Geographic Magazine

Urbanization: Population shift into and out of the cities is a particularly interesting dynamic. We became an urban species just recently—fifty one percent of us now live in cities and from a green perspective that is not necessarily a bad thing. In 1800 three percent of the world’s population lived in cities. By 2007, it was fifty percent, and by 2050, seventy five percent or more will live in cities. Most of these super cities will border the world’s oceans. Three of the top twenty urban hubs are now in China—a result of the largest human migration in history when peasants moved to the cities for economic opportunity. Like all living things, in cities or not, we are hard-wired to acquire resources needed for our survival.  Although tribal in nature and hunter-gatherer by design, many of us are now born in urban areas and into cultures where “needs” have far surpassed basic necessities like shelter, sustenance, and water. A large number of people in many other places, however, still struggle daily just to survive. On October 31, 2011, the world’s population hit the 7 billion mark. Two hundred years ago, there were only one billion people on the planet. In the past fifty years, the world’s population has more than doubled. When I began work on the story, “7 Billion,” for National Geographic Magazine, I thought I would be doing a story about carrying—basically that there are not enough resources and there are too many people and we are all going to be screwed in a Malthusian way.  Then I read a book about all the predictions regarding carrying capacity over the last couple hundred years and how they were all wrong.  Bottom line is, you can’t really talk about how many people the planet can support when things like fertilizer keep being invented, but you can talk forever about population shift.  With the realization that this story was about population shift and how that affects the planet, we came up with four subcategories within which to concentrate the photography: Urbanization, Immigration, Empty Pockets (the very fertile poor), and Empty Nests (the depopulation of aging, rich countries). These four concepts are obviously inter-related. This gallery is the urbanization portion of this story.

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Mass Migration Urban Planning Museum | Urbanization in Shanghai, China Crowds on the Streets of Calcutta (Kolkata) | India China Migration From Rural Areas to Be Servant Class for New Wealth The “Crane” is the National Bird of China | Guangzhou, China Urbanization | Century Park | Shanghai, China Urban Crowds at Churchgate Railway Station | Mumbai, India Shopping Mall Area | Urbanization | Guangzhou, China Subway Crowds | Urbanization | Guangzhou, China Shibuyu Intersection | Most Highly Trafficked in the World | Tokyo, Japan Urbanization in Pilgrimage City Varanasi, India Urbanization Trends in India | Crowds in Pilgrimage City Varanasi The First Wal-Mart in China | Urbanization in Shenzhen Urbanization problems: Buildings Demolished | Shanghai, China Turkey Immigration and In-Migration Urbanization Rate is 70% Urbanization | Black Sea Towns move to Istanbul, Turkey De-Urbanization | Flight to the Cities | Deserted Black Sea | Turkey De-Urbanization | Flight to the Cities | Ghost Town | Ushguli, Georgia De-Urbanization | Flight to the Cities | Ghost Town | Moscow, Russia Urban Group Bathing in British Horse Watering Trough | Mumbai, India Dharavi Slums | Largest Slums in the World | Movement to Mumbai, India End of Roman Empire | Genoa Italy | Population Decline
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