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The Future Of Latin America’s Megacities

From the hustle and bustle of Sao Paulo in Brazil to the large province of Buenos Aires in Argentina, the megacities of Latin America
are famous worldwide for their sheer size and the difficult balancing act between socio-economic issues and planning for a sustainable future. Latin American has been centre of attention for investment from the United States and China due to its wealth of resources and ambitious population looking for a better standard of life. The vision of flying cars, clean streets with no traffic and disease being a thing of the past are just some of the idyllic plans for the future of Latin America’s megacities, however, they are far removed from the current situation.

 

Problems Faced By The Megacities Of Latin America

Health is a pressing issue within the megacities of Latin America. The large concentration of people in the megacities present health risks such as poor air and water quality as well as noise pollution and the spread of infectious diseases. The living conditions of overcrowded streets, high-rise apartment blocks and pollution have created a rise in medicalissues and, caused people to turn to smoking or excessive drinking of alcohol. Through the improvement of living conditions, the Latin American megacities can improve the standard of life of their inhabitants.

Apart from the health issues mentioned above, with hundreds of thousands of cars polluting the air in Mexico City, unsafe neighbourhoods in Bogota, many narrow, poorly maintained streets in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro; it seems that it would take nothing short of a miracle for the megacities to become futuristic and sustainable cities. However, private and public organisations in Latin America are becoming more knowledgeable and aware of the necessity to improve and strive for sustainable cities of the future. By pushing for a more sustainable megacity with environmentally friendly buildings and transport, the lives and health of those living in the megacities will be greatly improved.

According to the World Bank, 80% of Latin Americans which translates to a staggering 400 million people living in the megacities of Latin America. The large population densities have put further pressure and strain on the levels of pollution, the amount of traffic and health issues. Rather than concentrating on the technology and development of futuristic flying cars, the megacities of Latin American have been combating the problems of today with cable cars and electric buses. With the aim of making cities more liveable and the planet more sustainable, electric transport which has been proven to save 30% in energy costs and not produce carbon emissions has been the focus of public transport development. As space is at a premium, the need to introduce more efficient modes of transport without affecting public spaces is just one of the challenges faced in the megacities of Latin American.

Progress In Latin America’s Transport System

Some megacities in Latin America are already making progress. In Rio de Janeiro the Complexo de Alemao favela is connected to the rest of the city via a cable car and in Buenos Aires, the free, yellow Ecobici bike exchange system helps its population make up to 5,000 trips per day. Although there is no easy way to transport the 20 million citizens of Mexico City or the 19 million of Sao Paulo there is definite room for improvement. With the majority of privately owned cars at a standstill throughout the cities due to the amount of traffic, a solution needs to be created. To combat the heavy levels of traffic and therefore slow bus service, Buenos Aires has recently introduced the Metrobus to the city centre. The network of separate lanes solely dedicated to the buses that serve the city, have helped to relieve the strain on congestion whilst ensuring the improvement and efficiency of the public transport system.

Creating The Cities Of Tomorrow In Latin America

The investment received from countries outside of Latin America as well as the development of technology has begun to rapidly improve the quality of life to the inhabitants of megacities. Accompanied by the development of the healthcare system and medical services, such as those found in Colombia, medical procedures have become more accessible and healthcare services more efficient. The continual improvement of living conditions, transport services and healthcare systems, the megacities of Latin America are becoming a hub for sustainable opportunities and are moving closer to becoming greener and more viable cities of the future.