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English Language Programs Academic English Program

Level 5 Upper-Intermediate

Unit 6: Megacities
Text

David Ferris, Contributor 8/31/2012 @ 11:04AM

Asia's Megacities Pose A Stark Environmental Challenge


The behemoth cities of Asia are larger than any in world history, and are growing so quickly that it is hard to keep track
of how they are affecting the environment and peoples health. A new report by the Asian Development Bank tries to
shed some light with charts and graphs that tell a gripping story.
The report, Green Urbanization (noun) in Asia, is a sobering yet hopeful examination of the environmental prospects for
Asias giant cities. In this post I look at the problem, and in a future post I will look at some of the reports possible
solutions.
First, a look at how fast Asia is urbanizing (verb).

Created by Karen Adam for RMIT 2012

English Language Programs Academic English Program


Level 5 Upper-Intermediate

Europe took 150 years to grow from 10 percent


population in the cities to 50 percent, while North
America reached the same point in 105 years. The
report projects that Asia and the Pacific will take
just 95 years to reach the same mark, and notes
that China finished the job in just 61 years.

The continent is forecast to add 822 million people to its


cities in the first two decades of this century, a pace far
faster than previous eras. China again takes the lead.

If Earth were a company where every urban (adj)


dweller had a share, Asia is already approaching a
controlling interest. The continent had 46.2
percent of the urban population as of 2010, and as
the next graph shows, it isnt even close to topping
out.

Created by Karen Adam for RMIT 2012

English Language Programs Academic English Program


Level 5 Upper-Intermediate

This chart compares levels of


urbanization among major regions over
time. By 2050, Asia and the Pacific may
have 63 percent of its population in the
city, which is about where the United
States was in 1950. This indicates that
Asias cities are likely to grow strongly for
the duration of the 21st Century.
In 1950, the world had exactly two
megacities, New York and Tokyo. (A
megacity is defined as a metropolitan
area of 10 million people or more.) As of
2010, the Earth had 23 megacities, 12 of
them in Asia. By 2025, 21 of the worlds
37 megacities will be located there.

This chart identifies the


worlds most dense (adj)
cities, which is an
important metric because
a crowded population
cuts two ways: It
increases the citys
appetite for resources
while also making it
possible to deliver those
resources more
efficiently. Seventeen of
the 25 densest (adj) cities
in the world are in Asia.
Created by Karen Adam for RMIT 2012

English Language Programs Academic English Program


Level 5 Upper-Intermediate

The rapid growth of China and India have


catapulted them into top positions as emitters
of carbon dioxide, which is warming the
atmosphere and tweaking our climate in
dangerous ways. The surge is so strong that
they are overtaking or approaching the older
industrial centers of the United States, Russia
and Japan.

A more immediate concern for Asias urban dwellers is the local air quality. The above graph shows that 67
percent of large cities that fail to meet the European Union air quality standard are in Asia.

Created by Karen Adam for RMIT 2012

English Language Programs Academic English Program


Level 5 Upper-Intermediate

This chart shows how sea level rise and


more powerful storms both likely
consequences of climate change will have
an especially devastating impact on the lowlying coastal cities of Asia. As of 2000, the
Asian urban population at risk of coastal
flooding was 1.39 billion people, more than
twice the number at risk in Europe, more
than four times greater than in Latin
America, and almost five times that of
Africa.

Coastal cities that are vulnerable to climate change


are also powerful magnets drawing people from the
countryside. Between 2010 and 2025, another 107
million people are expected to arrive.

The impact of climate change will also be felt in


inland cities because of larger, wetter and more
violent storms. Between 2010 and 2025, another 96
million people will move into these flood-prone Asian
cities.

Created by Karen Adam for RMIT 2012

English Language Programs Academic English Program


Level 5 Upper-Intermediate

This chart details which giant Asian cities are most at risk of flooding, both coastal and inland.
What ought to be done to blunt the environmental and health impact of Asias burgeoning megacities? I will
share some findings from the report later, but in the meantime please share in the comments.

If you would like to find out more, check out Forbes Magazine to follow the blog:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidferris/2012/08/31/the-stark-environmental-challenge-of-asiasmegacities/

Source: Ferris D, 2012, Asias Megacities Pose a Stark Environmental Challenge Forbes Magazine, 31 August, viewed 6 December 2012,
http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidferris/2012/08/31/the-stark-environmental-challenge-of-asias-megacities/

Created by Karen Adam for RMIT 2012

English Language Programs Academic English Program


Level 5 Upper-Intermediate

Worksheet
Asias Megacities Pose a Stark Environmental Challenge

Read the text and make an entry in your Reading Journal. Make a note in your RJ of any videos you
watch as well.

Consider:
1. Make sure you include the source of this article?
2. Note in the left-hand column, the main idea of the article / supporting arguments?
3. Note in the right-hand column, your thoughts about the authors arguments / idea, do you agree or disagree
based on your existing knowledge?

Discussion:
1.
2.
3.
4.

What are the implications of rising sea levels for Ho Chi Minh City (see table 6)?
What could be done to solve the problem of population density (noun phrase) in HCMC (see figure 8)?
Why do you think that the majority of megacities are in Asia (see figure 6)?
What can policy makers do to solve the problems of megacities in Asia generally? Go to YouTube and watch:
Asia's Booming Megacities Need to Grow Green to Survive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW4uzHEWo_s

Record new vocabulary

1. Look at the highlighted words in the text e.g. urbanization (noun US spelling) see if you can guess the meaning
by context.
2. Check to see if you are correct by using an English-to-English dictionary or go online to
http://dictionary.reference.com/.
3. Listen to the word/s as well so you know how to pronounce these words.
4. Make sure you record all of these words and their word families create your own sentences for practice.
5. Use this new vocabulary in your Tutorial to help you remember.
6. Pay particular attention this week to the language used to describe trends, make sure you note these in your
personal dictionary.

Look at the Tutorial Questions for this week, which question/s can this text help you answer?

Remember to cite your sources in your Tutorial

1. Use reporting verbs to refer to this article so we know who your source is to avoid plagiarism.
2. It also shows that you have prepared for the Tutorial.

Created by Karen Adam for RMIT 2012