1. Traffic jams, poverty, traffic collapses, insane

1.      Large cities provide great opportunities for earning and living conditions better than in less developed regions. So people’s desire to settle in a big city is understandable. But understanding these aspirations do not solve the problems. Traffic jams, poverty, traffic collapses, insane housing prices and high competition in the labor market are the result of the constant increase in the number of inhabitants of megalopolises. The Earth is more and more ruined by an uncontrollably growing overpopulation, after which the entire life of the planet and the space of its life forms are threatened, destroyed and eradicated.

2.      Having reached a certain stage, dynamically developing large cities has an increasing need for new development resources but within the city limits, they are almost exhausted. Therefore, on the basis of already developed small settlements which are adjusted to the center, districts of different profiles appear around megalopolises. Generally, these are just parts of one big city that becomes the center of agglomeration (an extended city or town) by creating a system around itself. With an orderly development and timely conflict resolution, agglomeration can become a dynamic system including the concentration of progressive elements, such as innovations in science, technology or culture. However, as in any other multicomponent system in the agglomeration or large megalopolis, there are a number of negative factors.

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The high concentration of the population inevitably leads to an overload of public transport, traffic jams, a concentration of polluting and hazardous substances in the air and high risks of transport accidents. All this disturbs the normal life of urban, and especially the metropolitan residents.

Another characteristic feature of megacities is their dense and often thoughtless one area development. When cities are no longer able to grow horizontally occupying large areas they starting to be rapidly tightened. For example, in Moscow on the site of the old low-rise “Khrushevka” skyscrapers appear and developers sometimes do not take into account the characteristics of the ground, taking care only about increasing profits. For the “successful” placement of new offices, residential quarters or shopping and entertainment complexes in the city center, public gardens and parks are being cut down, recreation areas are being built up, which affects the health and psychological condition of the citizens.

Meanwhile, because of such processes, the city continues to grow – together with the growing density of the population the number of people engaged in the economy is growing also which is increasing the number of legal and illegal migrants.

It is well known that megalopolises generate their own psychological mood of the inhabitants. Overcrowding of cities in most cases leads to a change in many values and the formation of unnatural stereotypes of behavior. One of the typical abnormal shifts in the psychology of residents of large cities is the low birth rate. The suppression of the instinct of the continuation of the reproduction, the disturbance of the desire of young girls to become pregnant – this is what the conditions of high population density and the constant observation of a large number of people around themselves lead. This mechanism is formed at the level of the subconscious, therefore it is perceived by people as a matter of course.

Another psychological effect is that with the growth of the population of the city, satisfaction with life is falling. Numerous studies conducted in large cities at the level of average middle-class residents confirm this paradox.

Additional proof of the tension of the psychological climate is the fact that is in big cities the proportion of people who do not believe in any help from outside is the higher. People are counting on hostile or, at least, extremely indifferent attitude of other people so they rely only on themselves. This kind of attitude at first sight may seem positive, in fact, it gives rise to a feeling of uncertainty in the future and gradually shakes the people’s nervous system. Thus, the overpopulation of cities has a rather powerful and in most cases negative impact on the psychological microclimate both in small groups (work collectives) and in the city as a whole. Mistrust of other people and the world around them, as well as low level of life’s satisfaction, can completely overtop the positive achievements of mega-cities in the economic sphere and the availability of a large number of jobs.

These factors show that large cities have a quite definite growth limit (scientists from EAPL university, Brazil defined an exact number of 7 million people), beyond which the economy begins to function irrationally. The existence of such a limit means that the city cannot expand indefinitely, as there are difficulties in providing people with clean water, quality food, preserving the remaining greenery, parks and forest areas, fresh air and solving social problems such as increased crime and inaccessibility of public and private transport.

3.      There is a question arising, why agglomeration mostly cannot work profitably. Indeed, if all its residents can be located in the city, it should be easily possible to expand the city’s borders and reproduce the same city’s life. But most of the settlements have already stumbled over this idea. For example, the territory of Mexico City since the 1990s has grown 6 times, but most of the workplaces were still concentrated in the center. As a result, residents began to spend almost a third of their monthly income to get to their work. By now the population has again started to move closer to the center and most of the residences built on the outlying districts are now empty.

But in Tokyo, where the transport infrastructure is better developed, there is a positive experience of creating and enlarging urban agglomerations. Tokyo – Yokohama is the largest agglomeration in the world, with a population of almost 40 million people. But since 1975, the population of central Tokyo has been shrinking, while the number of suburban residents is increasing. The main reason for that is developed transport infrastructure, including high-speed trains. Due to that, residents can afford to live in the suburbs and work in the center without spending a few hours on the road and affording relatively cheap accommodations.

In order to motivate residents to live in small towns and come to megalopolises only for work, a number of European cities also have a system of partial subsidizing trips on intercity trains.

The problems of cities in which the majority of the population wants to live is well illustrated by Beijing. Now there are 22 million people in the Chinese capital. In the 2016 year the mayor of Beijing called the city impossible for a living. Due to the huge number of cars and industrial enterprises, the city is shrouded in smog. Nine high-speed roads do not save Beijing from traffic jams as the rush hour in recent years has stretched to 3 hours. This year, local authorities decided to take radical measures and developed a plan that intends to the moving of part of the inhabitants of Beijing outside the city. It is also known that the authorities plan to expel business from the city that is operating in the lowest price segments and also closes most of the markets. How exactly moving of citizens will happen and by what principle those who are unworthy of living and working in the center will be chosen is still a mystery. It is clear only that residents and businessmen are unlikely to find themselves happy and confident being among that group of people.

A full restriction of construction is a fairly popular method of controlling the overpopulation of large cities. For example, in Oregon in 1973 “the Senate Bill 100” was adopted which prohibits construction outside of cities and the subsequent expansion of settlements. Owners of the land and developers took this decision without enthusiasm and in 1974 in the state of the creation of the movement “Oregon in Action”, opposing the ban on building. But 40 years of fighting against this law gave zero results that have not been canceled.

As Oregon grew in the 1960s, Willamette Valley residents started to view development as an environmental disaster that wasted irreplaceable landscape, farmland, greenery, and energy. Metropolitan growth was related to the hard example of Southern California. Governor Tom McCall summed the fears of many of his divisions up in January 1973, when he spoke to the Oregon legislature about the “shameless threat to our climate and to the whole aspects of life—realized despoiling of the land” and pointed out at suburbanization and second-home progression.

SB 100 expanded, which had been adopted in 1969 and obligatory cities continue to prepare comprehensive land-use plans and zoning authorization that met ten broad purposes established by the state. The legislation went down to establish mechanisms or standards for evaluating or integrating local plans however and allowed some counties to choose for pro forma agreement. McCall’s successful reelection campaign in 1970 called up for strengthening SB 10. Meanwhile, 55 percent of the state’s voters supported that law in a referendum. The legislature acted in 1973 to correct defects in the 1969 law.

 

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