India will be home to four mega cities, or 10 million-plus cities, out of the world’s total of 26 by 2025. Two of those, Mumbai and Delhi, will be in the top four most densely populated ones—replacing Mexico City, Sao Paulo and New York-New-ark. The latest UN’s State of the World’s Cities report, released last week, forecasts this, and focuses on social harmony in expanding cities.
Indian metros are growing at a rapid pace despite the fact that Asia is expected to account for the bulk of “shrinking cities”—where population is declining. Unlike in China, whose medium-to-large cities are shrinking, in India, it is the case with smaller urban centres. And, says the report, this is because of migration from the small to big or to new urban centres.
These cities offer better access to livelihood, no doubt. But a concern arises on the back of an identified trend of rising levels of urban inequality there, as well. Inadequate investment in the provision of public goods—water, sanitation, et al.—leads to living standards becoming more unequal. This increases risk: of the vulnerable losing livelihoods, and of social unrest.