Thursday, January 20, 2011

Welcome to Dhaka, the World's Fastest Growing Megacity

The United Nations estimates there are now about 20 "megacities" on the planet -- urban areas where the population exceeds 10 million. The fastest growing is Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

Dhaka is the subject of a five-part multimedia series, "Rise of the Megacities," in the Global Post, a relatively new, privately funded, international online-only news publication.

Reported and produced by Solana Pyne and Erik German, the series takes a ground-level look at problems created by the world's rapid urbanization... and some solutions.

"For first time in human history," we learn, "the world has become more urban than rural. By mid-century, 80% of the world's population will live in cities, many in the exploding slums of the developing world."

Among these megacities, The World Bank says Dhaka, with its current population of 15 million people, bears the distinction of being the fastest-growing in the world. Between 1990 and 2005, the city doubled in size — from 6 to 12 million. By 2025, the U.N. predicts Dhaka will be home to more than 20 million people — larger than Mexico City, Beijing or Shanghai.
How can you get a handle on such a vast topic?

As you can see in the five narrated video reports (linked below), we don't just hear the platitudes of government bureaucrats, but we get a candid closeup and personal look at the lives of the men, women and children who populate these slums.

Only by pursuing that "ground zero" view were the videojournalists able to uncover suprising truths -- including that formerly agrarian lives are actually improved in a slum economy, and that even the most dystopian vision of the future contains as much hope as peril.

PART ONE: Dhaka: fastest growing megacity in the world

Dhaka Rising: Decoding the Chaos of Earth's Fastest Growing Megacity (video)

PART TWO: The dreams of Dhaka's garment girls

Dhaka Wears it Well: The Financial and Cultural Impact of the Garment Industry (video)


PART THREE: Disasters drive mass migration to Dhaka

The Human Race: Migrants Arrive in Masses Searching for a Better Life (video)


PART FOUR: Interview: Looking on the bright side of Earth's growing slums

The Underground Economy: Tracking the Cash-Only Industries that Form Dhaka's Foundation (video)


PART FIVE: Who can solve a problem like Dhaka?

Water Wars: The Fight Against Thirst in a Rapidly Depleting City (video)

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