Comment at Foreign Policy….
The author states:
"these megalopolises keep getting bigger and denser."
He is only half right. The world’s megacities are indeed getting larger, but almost without exception, they are getting less dense.
Nearly all of the growth in Jakarta has been in the suburbs for the last 20 years, while the core has gained little in population. The net effect is a less dense, but much larger urban area, because the suburbs are not as dense (http://www.newgeography.com/content/002255-the-evolving-urban-form-jakarta-jabotabek).
Nearly all of the growth for 30 years in Manila has been in the suburbs, while the core city (http://www.newgeography.com/content/002198-the-evolving-urban-form-manila). Again, the urban area has become much larger, but much less dense because the suburbs are much less dense.
The core city of Seoul has been losing population and all growth has been in the suburbs, which are lower density (http://www.newgeography.com/content/002060-the-evolving-urban-form-seoul).
The core of Shanghai has lost population and all growth has been in the suburbs, which are lower density (http://www.newgeography.com/content/002283-the-evolving-urban-form-shanghai).
The core of Mumbai has lost population in two of the last three census periods, while all growth has been in the suburbs, which are lower density (http://www.newgeography.com/content/002172-the-evolving-urban-form-mumbai).
The urban core of Mexico City has been declining in population since 1960 and all of the growth has been in the suburbs, which are less dense.
Today, the ville de Paris has 700,000 fewer people than at its peak, and inner London (generally the former London County Council area) has lost more than 1,500,000 people since its peak. All growth has been in lower density areas in both cases.
The 2010 census showed the core city of Buenos Aires to have fewer people than in 1947, while at least 8 million people have been added to nearly 1,000 square miles of lower density suburbs. This is the norm, not the exception.
The world’s megacities are largely dispersing, not densifying.
Author, "Demographia World Urban Areas,"