Cosmopolitans and megacities basically offer a variety of options on aspects such as experience, success, social orientation etc. considering the diversity available. In this, various studies have tried to define what a cosmopolitan is. One particular definition is that cosmopolitans are urban centers where culture is basically emphasized on values such as freedom, egalitarianism and mutual respect (Mosterin 2005). Furthermore, these cities play a key role in scientific research, financial networking and economic development. It is therefore imperative that the population be ethnically diverse and racially tolerant.
Cosmopolitanism has been indicated by recent surveys which postulate that there is an uneven distribution of urbanization across the globe with Europe, south and North America the most urbanized regions of the world, with the populations in the major urban centers 73% 83% and 82% respectively (Burdett 2015).All this is an indication of the development and the progress around these areas and furthermore an indication of what is expected. In this, the globe is headed towards urbanization with the 70% threshold expected by the year 2050 (Burdett 2015).
All the growth in the major cities has basically been influenced by various factors such as economic development and demographic changes. As matter of fact, the growth of the big cities in Europe and North America was at an exponential rate during the 19th century with the peak during the 20th century. In this regard, these cities attained their current sizes by 1950 (Burdett 2015).All these megacities play a significant role in the progress of their respective countries as well as the globe. In 2012, it is estimated that major cities made up 33% of the world population but the output was more than 55% of the total economic output (Sevincer, Kitayama and Varnum 2015). All these statistics try to indicate the definition of a cosmopolitan city and the importance to the world. In this essay, the main focus is on the various factors and patterns that have shaped, formed and influenced the growth of the megacities in North America. Furthermore, the essay will try to explain how the forces influence the urban rents, living standards and human settlement in these cities. Some of the major cosmopolitans in North America include New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, Mexico City, Washington D.C, San Francisco, Boston, Vancouver, Dallas, and Houston among others.
Processes That Have Shaped the Growth of the Cosmopolitans
One process that has shaped the growth of the various cosmopolitan cities is the change in agricultural production. In this, the change particularly influenced the migration of people from other areas to form major cities. Furthermore, considering the special environmental conditions that are as a result of the differences in the regions in North America, there was an increase in specialization on different cropping patterns giving these cities an advantage over other areas that had soils and environmental conditions of marginal quality. In these latter regions, the people opted to move to the major cities to seek other forms of employment consequently abandoning agriculture. Moreover, considering that most African Americans relied on monoculture, particularly on cotton, the agricultural diversity on these lands provided the platform necessary for migration and it is this population increase that set off the ripple for the growth of these cities. All these migrant workers and their families settled into small urban centers that eventually grew to the major cosmopolitans.
In-migration retirees can be attributed to the growth of some of the cosmopolitan cities such as Las Vegas, Orlando this, the elderly-middle segment of the society affected the socioeconomic change which consequently influenced the growth of megacities. These people were able to spend their transfer payments in cities that were far away from their home communities. In particular, they invested in areas that were far away from their home communities because they had a greater geographical mobility (Murray 2010). Another group was involved in the transfer of skills and knowledge that spurred the growth of the major cities. This lot moved to regions that were perceived to be very attractive such as areas of natural amenities, recreational centers among others transferring skills. The downside of this influx of people is that some regions gained populations at the expense of others. In this regard, the movement of people to these regions transformed small and medium-sized cities to the major and megacities.
Technological innovations and research that were meant to put America ahead during the post-war era greatly influenced the growth of some of the major cities (Greenfield 2009). In this, there was federal funding that was devoted to military and research centers and as a result, the communities that were centered on major universities, industries, and research centers benefited remarkably. Furthermore, the federal government initiated processes that were aimed at increasing the number of research centers and universities available in these regions and as a result, there was a significant increase in the size of the cities. One major city that can be described to have benefited from this investment is Las Vegas where civic leaders are said to have pressured the officials to restructure the universities that were present while also establishing new ones. On the aspect of technological innovation, increase in airspace and air conditioning encouraged and influenced the growth of the cities all around North America.
Transportation has greatly influenced the growth of some of the major cosmopolitans in North America. After the civil war, trains were the predominant means of transportation, especially during the years around 1870.The train network was furthermore improved when steel was discovered to be a more reliable form of the railroad network. In this, various cities were created when the rail network was expanded while others grew in size when they became rail hubs (Rodrigue 2017) Furthermore, the ease in transportation around North America influenced the population increase by easing the movement to various cities that eventually grew. As a matter of fact, not only were the rail road’s useful in transporting immigrants who were settling in various cities, the railroad was used in transporting various natural resources to growing cities. Another form of transport that influenced the growth of these cities was the development of the highway system. The highway system was particularly useful in mass suburbanization around cities that were older (Florida 2002). The growth was particularly influenced by the fact that people could easily commute from various regions to their workplaces. As a matter of fact, the growing population could manage to settle in various regions around the cities with their families without worrying about their jobs. In particular, it was helpful to people who preferred subtle lifestyles away from the congestion and the pollution of the cities. Furthermore, the Federal interstate highway act that was passed around the 1950s set the stage for the growth of this highway network and as a result influencing suburbanization (Appiah 2006).
Urban Rents, Settlement, and Living Standards
Considering the development of the transportation sector and the growth of the megacities, regions that were located on the periphery were less expensive on aspects of land ownership and construction costs. The increase in the transportation network, therefore, played a significant role in the settlement of people farther out from these megacities where the land costs and the construction costs of new houses were significantly less. The commuting pattern was not affected and therefore people were able to maintain their employment status regardless of the places they lived.
After the First World War and the resultant increase in immigration in city centers, most families lived in densely populated units with most workers living in multifamily settings around the site of employment (Short 2007). As a result, there was the development of skyscrapers and high rise buildings particularly so because of the increasing technology and the increasing land this, the growth of these building structures ensured that employment, Industrialization, production, and distribution were all available in the city centers.
Some of the fastest growing megacities tend to consider housing affordability for the population. The housing price is relatively lower to income and this has the effect of influencing settlement into these cities, particularly the immigrants. On the other hand, slower growing cities tend to have hiked housing prices that have a critical influence on the growth patterns and formation of families. The immigrants have been described to be very useful for the growth of a city but equally as important are their children. Therefore, the growth in megacities may be attributed to the growth of the in migrant population and their offspring and this can only happen if the housing costs are suitable.
Various processes influence the growth of mega cities.The North American megacities can attribute their growth to various factors such as the increase in the population, increase in infrastructure, increase in technological inventions and some historic occurrences such as the civil war, the first and the second world wars. In this, the growth of the cities and the population has had an effect on the various patterns of settlement and housing. In this, transportation has been the main player in influencing the settlement while the housing prices and the income also play a significant role.
Appiah, k. A. (2006). Cosmopolitanism: ethics in a world of strangers. New York.
Burdett, R. (2015, November 23). Cities in numbers: how patterns of urban growth change the world. Retrieved from the guardian:
Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the Creative class. new York.
Greenfield, P. M. (2009). Linking social change and developmental change: shifting pathways of human development. Development psychology.
Mosterin, J. (2005). A world without national states. Acta Inst Philos, 55-77.
Murray, C. (2010). Coming Apart: the state of White America 1960-2010. New York.
Rodrigue, J.-p. (2017). transportation and the Urban Form. Retrieved from The geography of transport systems:
Sevincer, A. T., Kitayama, S., & Varnum, M. E. (2015). Cosmopolitan cities: the frontier in the 21st century. Frontiers in psychology.
Short, J. R. (2007). Liquid City; megalopolis and the contemporary northeast:. Washington D.C.