As part of our series in response to the UN’s 2016 World Cities Report, we’re exploring the opportunities and challenges presented by the rapid growth of developing countries.
In our 6th and final post in the series, we discuss the increasing migration into emerging megacities and the challenge that poses.
As immigrants from war torn countries flee into the European Union, so to do residents of developing countries swarm into nearby cities where there are more opportunities due to economic development. And as we’ve seen play out across the EU and the world in reaction to the surge of Syrian refugees, long-time residents of those areas are increasingly worried that their homes are being taken away from them.
But where others see concern, we see opportunity, especially in developing megacities.
This can be a defining moment to improve services and redefine the identities of these areas. Migrants and immigrants bring with them their native cultures and cuisines, which are embedded into the very fabric of these cities, making them truly home to more people.
Only when newcomers believe that their new environment is home do they proactively attempt to become a part of their communities. This assimilation of many cultures is a vital and necessary part of development, because it is in our human nature to take care of the things that belong to us. With shared accountability for our cities, we distribute responsibility for building and patronizing local businesses, providing quality services and investing in our communities, even those we do not belong to, but recognize parts of ourselves among. When we increase a shared sense of security, we collectively thrive as global citizens connected across an immense, fast-changing world.