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Megacities - Megachallenges

As a result of their new spatial and population dimensions and dynamics as well their economic, social and political impacts, megacities pose a number of new challenges on various levels:

Urban decision makers and planners have to find integrative and adapted strategies and approaches for the manifold problems of megacities - e.g. ecological, economical, social and infrastructural. They have to develop concepts for risk management to face natural as well as anthropogenic hazards.

Decision makers on national and international level are concerned with the impact and interaction of megacities with and on their surrounding regions and with global systems - regarding ecological, economical as well as socio-cultural and political aspects.

Scientists. For urban researchers, the biggest challenge is the development of new and appropriate concepts and approaches to understand the phenomenon of megacities in a holistic and integrative way. Up to the present, urban science often employs approaches derived from European and American urbanity. In order to contribute to policy and decision relevant knowledge, scientists have to deepen the understanding of the underlying principles of world-wide urbanization, megaurban dynamics and of their complex interdependencies with global change processes. More than ever, it will be essential for urban science to be implemented with multidisciplinary and multi-scale approaches.

Towards a more sustainable future: Whether a more sustainable (or less unsustainable) development can be realized in megacities, will depend on whether the complex dynamics and interactions of megaurban systems can be better understood and the political actors can be provided with relevant knowledge. Most of the present concepts, strategies and tools of urban planning and development turn out to be of little use for solving problems of megaurban societies.

Rarely, informality as a basic principle of urban life - especially in developing countries - has been taken into account.