In the last two centuries, the population of the world has increased more than five times, while the gross domestic product per capita has increased 13 times as fast (adjusted for inflation and purchasing power). Yet considerable poverty remains.
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This is adapted from a note been sent today to a correspondent seeking clarification of our population estimate for the Dhaka urban area.
The population estimate that you referenced (15.4 million in 2012) was based upon the 2011 figure reported to the United Nations by the government of Bangladesh. We are pleased to provide clarification.
We will not be using that estimate as a basis in the future, because 2011 census data made it clear that the government’s geographical urban area definition is different than ours. Our analysis of the 2011 census yields a base of approximately 13.6 million, from which a 14.0 million 2012 estimate is derived (using the UN projected population growth rate). A new estimate for 2013 will be published in the 9th Annual Demographia World Urban Areas, which is scheduled for publication in the Spring of 2013.
Urban areas are areas of continuous development (as defined in urban analysis).Thus, an urban area conforms largely to the area of uninterrupted light that would be visible from a high flying airplane on a clear night. Urban areas are one of two dimensions of the city — its physical definition. An urban area contains no rural land. As a result, urban areas do not conform to administrative boundaries (such as the Dhaka Zila or any component of the Dhaka City corporations). Moreover, they are not metropolitan areas (which is the second dimension of the city — the functional definition of a city. This is the labor market area, which includes economically connected rural areas)
In the case of Dhaka, our urban area includes only the continuously developed parts of Dhaka and Narayanganj Zilas as well as the southern part of Gazipur Zila. This means, for example, that much of Dhaka Zila to the west of the river is not a part of the urban area. This also means that nearby Baipayl is not a part of the urban area, because there is rural land between it and Dhaka. The much smaller land area included in the urban area also illustrates the fact that the rural areas of the zilas are not included.
It appear that the Bangladesh government’s urban area population was really more akin to that of the metropolitan area. Regrettably, there are no international standards for definition of metropolitan areas, which makes comparisons risky.
Note: Demographia expresses deepest condolences to the people of Dhaka and especially to families who lost loved ones in the tragic Tazreen Garment Factory fire in the Ashulia area overnight. And, may the injured be speedily restored to full health.
Wendell Cox (2012.11.25)
The differences in urban definitions can be substantial. According to the UN, urban definitions can require a population of as much as 50,000, and as little as 200, as in Sweden. With thresholds so low as 200, 1,000 or 2,500 population, the world urbanization data includes not only "cities," but also smaller settlements like small towns and villages (though there is no standard definition to differentiate between cities, towns and villages and the definitional problem is made worse by the sometimes use of these terms for administrative boundaries).
It is generally recognized that the world’s largest urban area is Tokyo, with a population of more than 35 million. However, there is no consensus about the smallest urban area in the world. Our candidate is Godegård, located in the Motala municipality (Östergötland County) in Sweden. The 2010 census indicated that Godegård had a population of 200 residents, at the urban definition threshold for Sweden. Godegårdians live in an urban area of 0.10 square miles or 0.26 square kilometers (see Google Earth image above).
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Many in the urban planning community have been proclaiming a "sea-change" in household preferences away from suburban housing in the United States. Perhaps no one is more identified with the "sea-change" thesis than Arthur C. Nelson, Presidential Professor, City & Metropolitan Planning, University of Utah. Professor Nelson has provided detailed modeled market estimates for California in a paper published by the Urban Land Institute.
We review the latest available data on actual choices made by households, which shows demand, which paints a substantially different picture. Demand for detached housing on conventional lots (identified with suburban) has been increasing, while demand for multi-family housing (identified with urban cores) has been decreasing.
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The implementation of California’s "global warming" law is emerging as a political slush fund for projects favored by whoever is in power in Sacramento, in this case, Gov. Brown and the Democratic majority in the state legislature. The high speed rail proposal is a case in point. The cost per ton removed of greenhouse gas (GHG) will exceed the maximum necessary range identified by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by many times. Obviously, any use of "cap and trade" funds makes this makes this a mockery of the AB32 GHG emission reduction targets. California’s greenhouse gas reduction program is at risk of deteriorating into just another pork-barrel program.
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