The Continent That Dominates the Metropolitan Lifestyle
It is perhaps not too crazy to think Asia dominates the list of largest metropolitan cities in the world. After all it is the biggest continent by size and population, and rapid urbanization is happening everywhere. It’s so fast that we are also seeing more of metacities being formed. That's when two or more metropolitan cities are growing at a rapid pace, you cant tell where one city begins and where one ends. With more people migrating for a quality living, there is no saying how much bigger these metacities will grow.
Let’s take a closer look at what this rapid urbanization mean for us, the ordinary person trying to make a living. What are the ups and downs as an individual as more and more people are moving in to these cities.
Big City Life: Ups and Downs
Cities are a great place to make new friends and widen your social circle. It’s just a matter of narrowing down your hobbies and interests and putting yourself out there going to events or concerts, joining activities, signing up as a volunteer. It’s a fact that larger cities hold more diverse communities, social clubs and amenities that lets you connect with new people and fellow residents. While small cities and towns do have their social events and amenities, they aren't on the same level as the ones found in larger cities. You never have a shortage of things to see and do when living in a metropolitan area, regardless of your preference you’ll find what appeals to you as an individual.
The downside of living in a metropolitan city can be homesickness. Especially for those who moved from a slower-paced town where everyone is familiar with each other, it can get a bit lonely if you don't instantly connect with your colleagues. Let’s be honest not everyone can have that outgoing personality that's eager to go out and try new different things every day. Some people find comfort in the familiar and routine they were used to. And if small towns provide the stability and the peace of mind you seek, there is nothing wrong with avoiding crowds. At the end of the day, its all a matter of preference.
The cost of owning a car can be daunting. This is where living in a metropolitan city can be an advantage for an entry-level employee or those making a big move to a city or anyone who has a lot of financial responsibility. An added expense of buying a car, used or brand new, insurance, registration and all the taxes that come with it can easily make you live paycheck to paycheck. God forbid if your car breaks down, the repair costs alone can put a huge dent on your budget. Alternatively in the city, there is a wide range of options for public transportation that would take you to your destinations without the hassle of being a car owner. There are buses, taxis, subways, rapid transits, trains and auto-rickshaws. On the other hand, smaller towns and cities don’t always have a wide selection of public transport and if ever, they don't have as much coverage as the ones in larger cities.
It is a funny cycle really. When you think of it, people aspire to move to a bigger city for better career opportunities and to improve quality of life but once you make the move, everything seems to double up. It’s like the more income you make, the things you want cost even more. Necessities cost more as well. Things like house rent, groceries, dining out and even entertainment are generally more expensive in the city and you might find yourself spending more than usual for basic things. That’s the price you pay to live in a bigger city. To ease the burden of house rent you're more likely to share a house with a roommate or two to pay a reasonable rent. House ownership in the city is very tough, even a small space of a one-bedroom apartment have inflated prices. If you have your heart set out for ownership, we hate to break it to you, it’s tough and takes careful planning and budgeting and loans as well and could take a few years to accomplish. Saying all that, it is not completely hopeless to manage to save up while living in a bigger city. You just have to be frugal and smart on where and what to purchase.
Let’s go get to know these bustling cities
Top 10 Biggest Metropolitan Cities in the World
Who would believe that the city the media dubbed as the next Silicon Valley and China’s Silicon Valley was a tiny fishing village barely half a century ago? It has come a long way since we can tell you that! Shenzhen ranks the first in 200-meter skyscrapers in the world! And to think it was a small town a mere 50 years ago is baffling, to say the least. That's not all, its also home to Huawei. One of the fierce competitors to Samsung and Apple mobile phones! This city is not only a leading technology hub, but it also boasts beautiful touristic scenery. Other than the breathtaking view of the skyscrapers, Shenzhen has beautiful beaches, mountains in the countryside if you're looking for a more zen holiday. It also offers free admissions to over twenty public parks and who doesn't enjoy a nice picnic! The spot that caught our eye though was a place called Window of the World. It’s like a small globe showcasing 130 miniature global attractions around the park. You can find replicas of the leaning tower of Pisa, Niagara Falls and Eiffel Tower and such. Very impressive Shenzhen!
New York, USA
Surprise Surprise, well not really. Even though New York is the only non-Asian metropolitan city that makes the top ten list we saw this a mile away. This city, home to the popular sitcom Friends, was once dubbed the city that never sleeps. And NY truly never slept, this city has flourished their metropolitan lifestyle since the early 1930s and weathered the Great Depression, 9/11 and other economic tragedies making them the oldest and first metropolitan area in the world. There isn't an industry where this city hasn't dabbled in, from being home to Ivy League universities like Yale, Columbia and Princeton University which are among the most competitive and prestigious institutes in the world to being the headquarter well-known media companies like ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX news to name a few. Have we mentioned that NYC is home to the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world? Let that sink in.
Everyone talks about the beautiful islands of the Philippines, all seven thousand of them, the clear blue beaches on white-sand is what crosses our head when we think of the Philippines. But this beautiful country that was named after King Phillips of Spain, back when the country was a colony, has not only one metropolitan city. They have three! Yup, for a geographically small country the Philippines has three big cities, Manila being the largest. It has a significant impact on commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, education, research, technology and entertainment, not just locally but internationally too.
This city, formerly called Peking, is the capital of China and the world’s third most populated city proper! And that’s not all, it is also one of the oldest cities in the world with a rich history dating back to three millennia. So you can imagine the historic old palaces and temples found in this city, what we see is a mix of traditional and modern architecture. This city, renowned for its luxurious palaces, temples, parks, gardens and tomb, has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most popular, which we're sure you’ve heard of, is the Great Wall of China. Beijing is surrounded by mountains on three sides of the inland city, parts of the Great Wall is open for perusal. That’s not all there is to see! This next spot that got us hooked from the name, the Forbidden City which was meant to be the earthly counterpart to the heavenly abode of the Celestial Emperor.
Guangzhou is also known as Canton has a history of over two thousand years and was a major terminal for the Silk Trade. It continues to be a major port and transportation hub to this day. Guangzhou also sees a significant number of foreign temporary residents and immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa. Forget Canton, it's now dubbed as Capital of the Third World! Guangzhou is also known for its annual Canton Fair, the oldest and largest trade fair in China and also known for the Eight Views of Ram City, which are Guangzhou’s eight famous tourist attractions.
Seoul, South Korea
This beautiful city officially called Seoul Special City has lived up to the name. Other than K-pop, this city is home to 15, yes 15 Fortune Global 500 companies like Samsung, LG, Hyundai and Kia. We're sure every household in this day and age owns at least one device from the mentioned. And they are all manufactured in the city! They also have Times Square, granted it is Seoul’s largest shopping mall, but it also has the world’s largest permanent cinema screen. It has also been called the most wired city because the city has a very technologically advanced infrasture not to mention their internet connectivity. They have the world’s highest average internet speeds. And the best part is FREE wi-fi access in outdoor spaces. Yup! All that high-speed internet is accessible in public free of charge. Isn't that amazing? Seoul you have lived up your name!
Like the Philippines, Indonesia is quite popular for its beautiful beaches which makes it a surprise that it lands a fourth in the world’s metropolitan cities. Jakarta is nicknamed the Big Durian as the city is seen as the Indonesian equivalent of New York. Jakarta’s economy depends on manufacturing and service sectors like banking, trading and finance. It also holds claim to the world’s largest shopping mall floor area with a total of 550 hectares. Nice!
Coming out eighth, Shanghai too has come a long way from being a fishing village and market town as well. It grew in importance in the 19th century due to trade and its favourable port location. Now, it’s a global center for finance, innovation and transportation, not to mention the home of the world’s busiest container port. With its advanced services, large population base and China’s largest retail sales, Shanghai is well-positioned to grow even further.
Tokyo has really lived by the motto try and try until you succeed. In the past century, Tokyo had to rebuild itself twice; first, in 1923 after the Great Kanto Earthquake and another second time after the city was bombed in World War II. The 60s marked Tokyo’s period of rapid growth, in terms of economy and population. It was also the first Asian country to host the Olympic Games and the only Asian country that will be hosting it twice.
Delhi started off with 0.7 million people post-independence and it hasn't shown any signs of slowing down its growth both in terms of size and population since. It experienced one of the fastest urban expansions in the world, attracting an unprecedented amount of new residents each year. Do we mean who wouldn't move to Delhi to have a more quality life? As of 2019, Delhi continues to grow in population and with a flourishing commercial center, it is only getting bigger. What’s bigger than a metacity? We guess Delhi will show us in the near future.
Let's Explore the Best Things to Do
So we have gotten to know these metacities and their background, how about we get some tips and guidelines to the which spots qualify on your must see list if you were to visit for a day.
What Can You Do in Shanghai in a Day?
Found yourself with only one day to spend in town? Don’t worry we have narrowed down the amazing spots and you can get a taste for the wonders of Shanghai. One place that gets recommended a lot is the Shanghai World Financial Center, one of the world's ten tallest buildings. You can take the elevator to the top floors but the 100th floor is the most exciting, here you’ll find transparent glass floors with panoramic views of Shanghai and beyond! The next stop is Nanjing Shopping Street which is the busiest thoroughfare in the city, lined with malls, boutiques and a wide variety of restaurants. It is a must-visit part of the city for a unique experience, especially the sea of people that crowds the street. Even if you just walk up and down the street, there’s plenty to marvel at. Last on the list is a cruise by the Pujiang Cruise along the Pujiang River. This gives you wonderful view of both classic and modern architecture of Shanghai, giving you a chance to have a glimpse of how Shanghai evolved.
What Can You Do in Delhi in a Day?
The city of Delhi has a long and deep history where several old monuments mingle with towers of new buildings. So it can be quite perplexing what to do in one day and what to leave out. For convenience's sake, signing up for a Heritage walk would be great, one can cover several important areas of heritage, culture and architecture. Another spot that must be mentioned is Dilli Haat. This market place with its colourful and vibrant culture is worth a visit! It showcases the diversity and ethnic background of the country, that's like a mini-tour of all of India! And it isn't exclusive to items like clothing and accessories, they have a wide selection of eateries from different states of the country. Between these two activities, there just isn't enough time to go see more places. You need more than a day to cover all the wonderful spots in Delhi.
What Can You Do in Tokyo in a Day?
Tokyo is well connected even if you have a day, you can pack in a lot of locations in your must-see list. Of course, the first thing to visit is the most popular and iconic intersection at Shibuya. Thanks to Hollywood movies that act of crossing the intersection is so important to many that a visit to Tokyo isn't complete otherwise. Whether you’re familiar with the anime or manga culture, Akihabara is worth taking a look around. It is considered by many to be the center of modern Japanese popular culture. You can find amazing things on sale, from old video games to anime and manga figurines. Another culture unique to Tokyo is a cafe with interesting and often strange themes like maid, cat and penguin cafes. These are pretty abundant in Akihabara and could be a nice experience to visit one.
Stay in Public Places
If you’re a first-time visitor, many people know the city better than you. Don’t follow anyone down a dark street or into a closed-off area. Even if they seem friendly, they never agree to follow someone to a private place alone. Thieves will take advantage of your limited knowledge and already have an exit strategy ready to get away with your things. Don’t stray off into a street you aren’t familiar with!