Watch part two
By the end of this year, over half the world's population will live in urban areas. It is a trend that is set to continue.
By 2050, it is predicted that 70 per cent of the world will be city dwellers.
Some of the fastest growth is occurring in Asia, where mega cities are blossoming, particularly in developing countries.
Take Indonesia's capital Jakarta - its population has risen rapidly from 1.2 million in 1960 to 9 million today, and that is counting just legal residents.
By including Jakarta's sprawling metropolitan area, the population rises to 23 million. And it is still growing rapidly.
Jakarta's popularity is putting huge pressure on the environment.
Traffic is gridlocked, air quality is at crisis point and Jakarta's rivers are choked with human waste and garbage. Poor sanitation also creates serious health threats.
This week, 101 East asks if developing countries can create mega cities that are fit to live in.
Joining host Teymoor Nabili to discuss the issue is urban planning expert, Professor Ricky Burdett from the London School of Economics, Nandita Mongia, the Asia-Pacific advisor on energy and the environment for the United Nations Development Programme, and architect Alejandro Gutierrez, whose company is creating a purpose-built eco-city in China.
This episode of 101 East aired from Thursday, January 15, 2009.
Source: Al Jazeera