10 Megacities Are Unique When it comes to megacities, no one size fits all. Other than sharing large, dense popu- lations, each megacity is unique—reflecting its uniqueness through people, culture, geography, economic and technological evolution, religious and national identity, and history. Although each megacity emerges its own unique living system, it is also possible to identify patterns—particu- larly between megacities in the developed and developing world. Developed world megacities have had centu- ries to build, run, and manage the physical and intellectual infrastructure necessary to support a great city. These cities attract human talent and have operated as centers of culture and transpor- tation for quite some time. Although developed world megacities may struggle with the stress of increased global competition for resources and the integration of new technologies, they have significant capacity with which to manage these challenges. For the most part, they have over- come the problems and health crises associated with rapid growth and slums that many expe- rienced during the industrial revolution and/ or subsequent periods of war and technological change. As opposed to their developed world counter- parts, developing world megacities are often the result of the rapid industrialization of agriculture in recent times—of people forced off the land, rather than just attracted to economic opportu- nities in the cities. This means that when looking at the rapid growth of developing world meg- acities in Asia and the Southern Hemisphere, it is essential to understand how they relate to the industrialization of agriculture and policies related to the global flow of capital—particu- larly government credit and related treaties and legal structures—which are often engineered to encourage, if not force, rapid urbanization. Megacities bring front and center the ques- tion we keep asking on The Solari Report: Is this happening because it is practical and econom- ic, and because it reflects free choices by free people? Or is it because it is wealth-creating and risk-reducing for an invisible governance system? Is it because the banks and corporations are centralizing control with the benefit of sovereign government credit, manipulated legal systems, enforcement, and black budgets? My expectation about megacities is the same as for all cities. We are going through a major period of change. Some megacities are going to figure things out and emerge as highly attractive centers of global trade and culture. Others are not going to manage the transition well and will get bogged down by unstable politics and corruption, social inequality, and organized crime. Compare the development of Singapore to Calcutta or Dhaka after World War II—proof positive that not everyone will get it right or that millions may be seriously harmed until they do. My prediction for 2030 is that there will be wide disparities in the appeal and well-being of different large cities and megacities—even wider than today. My Love Affair with Cities We each have a point of view about large cities. It is worth exploring what that is and why. Here is mine. I recommend that you ask yourself what yours is and why. I grew up on the streets of West Philadelphia. It was a world described by Bill Cosby’s early comedy routines on street football, and the stoop sitting and street corner hanging in Spike Lee’s movie Crooklyn or Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. When various excursions led me to the suburbs, to the country, or to the estates of the wealthy, I returned with the notion that city life had distinct advantages. There was a lot more to do in cities than in the country (the important exceptions were horseback riding and moun- tain climbing!). The pressure to keep up with the Joneses in the suburbs seemed emotionally and financially exhausting—something avoid- ed when living in the midst of a melting pot of income groups in the city. Finally, my city neighbors were more diverse, nicer, and infinite- II. Megacities & the Growth of Global Real Estate Companies