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  • Come close, I've got a secret for you...

  • ...closer,

  • ...closer,

  • ...closer...

  • Ok, ready?

  • This is 'What If,'

  • and here's what would happen if everyone on Earth lived in one city.

  • To date, the greatest population density ever recorded

  • was in Hong Kong's Kowloon Walled City.

  • Before forced evictions took place in the early 1990s,

  • there were 33,000 people sharing this space,

  • which is about the same area as three football fields.

  • And that's equivalent to 1.2 million people per square kilometer.

  • You can understand why this walled city had to go.

  • But even if that's an extreme example,

  • our world is home to some pretty dense cities.

  • Manila is a city with roughly 43,000 people per square kilometer.

  • While the population of Manhattan is about 26,000 per square kilometer.

  • And while they're not ideal circumstances for claustrophobics,

  • most people can make it work.

  • It could...

  • but comfort would vary depending on the density.

  • Let's start with a fun city that has a pretty low population density.

  • New Orleans is roughly 784 people per square kilometer.

  • If you were to scale New Orleans to accommodate everyone in the world,

  • you'd get a city the size of the continental United States.

  • But if you were to do the same thing to a high population density city like Manila,

  • which, as we said, has a population density of 43,000,

  • then everyone in the world would have to fit into a city the size of the country of Uruguay.

  • It's hard to speculate on what life would be like if everyone in the world lived in a city this size.

  • In some ways, it might be more sustainable.

  • We'd save money on huge infrastructure projects like long highways and bridges.

  • Travel and transport costs would go down,

  • since all the materials we'd need would be going to the same place;

  • and that might make basic human necessities

  • like food and medicine more accessible.

  • Not to mention, having everything from work to home

  • to the supermarket and the shopping mall within walking distance,

  • or accessible by public transit, would reduce our environmental impact.

  • or accessible by public transit, would reduce our environmental impact. In fact, people in cities use half as much energy

  • In fact, people in cities use half as much energy

  • as people who don't – because they live in smaller spaces.

  • But when we think about urban living today, it's impossible to ignore the cost of rent.

  • With space at such a premium,

  • And what kind of quality of life could low-earners expect?

  • In Hong Kong, for example, an incredibly dense city

  • with the most expensive housing market in the world,

  • a 40 square meter (430 sq. ft.) apartment costs about 700,000 USD.

  • In some places, that kind of money could buy you a castle.

  • But with the world crammed into one city, your living quarters might look more like this.

  • The kind of geo-city we're envisioning raises a lot of social questions.

  • People tend to move to cities for better opportunities,

  • but, would there be enough to go around?

  • Would the high concentration of wealth inequality

  • that's often overlooked in today's world

  • breed more crime? Or even revolution?

  • Would there still be wars?

  • Or would proximity to one another help us to understand each other a little better,

  • and realize that we're not so different after all?

  • A truly global city is hard to imagine

  • because distance and diverse perspectives

  • have bred different approaches to urban planning.

  • Is there a one-size fits all approach to cities?

  • How can we make urban life sustainable and accommodating to all?

  • Luckily, the world will never live in just one city,

  • but these are questions we need to start taking seriously.

  • Because urban density is on the rise, and like it or not,

  • we're just gonna have to get more comfortable with each other.

  • Do you know someone who's claustrophobic?

  • Show them this video, and stay tuned for more 'What If.'

Come close, I've got a secret for you...

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What If Everyone on Earth Lived in One City?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/04/04
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