7 Billion Humans | Urbanization

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 | Urbanization

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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End of Roman Empire | Genoa Italy | Population Decline Dharavi Slums | Largest Slums in the World | Movement to Mumbai, India Crowded Road and Intersection | Roads Over Run in Mumbai, India Largest Urbanization in Human History From Rural to China’s Cities Crowds on the Streets of Calcutta (Kolkata) | India Urban Crowds at Churchgate Railway Station | Mumbai, India Urban Group Bathing in British Horse Watering Trough | Mumbai, India De-Urbanization | Flight to the Cities | Ghost Town | Moscow, Russia De-Urbanization | Flight to the Cities | Ghost Town | Ushguli, Georgia De-Urbanization | Flight to the Cities | Deserted Black Sea | Turkey Urbanization | Black Sea Towns move to Istanbul, Turkey Turkey Immigration and In-Migration Urbanization Rate is 70% Urban Planning Museum | Urbanization in Shanghai, China Urbanization problems: Buildings Demolished | Shanghai, China The First Wal-Mart in China | Urbanization in Shenzhen Recycling Other Cities Junk | Dharavi Slums | Mumbai (Bombay), India Urbanization Trends in India | Crowds in Pilgrimage City Varanasi Urbanization in Pilgrimage City Varanasi, India Shibuyu Intersection | Most Highly Trafficked in the World | Tokyo, Japan Urbanization of the Poor | Dharavi Slums | Mumbai (Bombay), India Turkey is Now 70% Urban | Nisance Immigrant Neighborhood | Istanbul Young Sudanese men wait in Istanbul’s slums for visas | Turkey Lock-Step Urbanization | Century Park | Shanghai, China The “Crane” is the National Bird of China | Guangzhou, China China Migration From Rural Areas to Be Servant Class for New Wealth Shopping Mall Area | Urbanization | Guangzhou, China Subway Crowds | Urbanization | Guangzhou, China De-Urbanization and Depopulation of Japanese Rural Area in Kamikatsu
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