The Megacities Initiative originates from the awareness of the future role of cities as the dominant type of settlement for humanity. Cities will play this role not only as a matter of fact but also as a matter of necessity, as the only other way of housing the increasing world population. In an intensive rural occupation pattern this would certainly lead to an ecological disaster.


To survive, the world's population depends on the continuation of the explosive growth of cities that may be seen already in so many developing countries, but at the same time urban growth like this will create new survival problems as cities will not be able to absorb the staggering numbers of immigrants that seek shelter there.
The unbridled growth of megacities (more than 10 million inhabitants) is an extremely topical question. Around the turn of the century there will be more than 21 megacities. Mexico City and Calcutta have already passed the barrier of 20 million inhabitants. According to the World bank some african cities are growing by more than 10% annually, "the highest percentage ever recorded". In the coming decades, trillions of dollars will be invested in a global scale in infrastructure and urban works in order to provide a decent human existance for the growing world population. However, many governments and particularly the concerns who are supposed to ensure this production have too little understanding and wareness of the problems of content and culture associated with these activities.

The Initiative

The Megacities Foundation in the Netherlands was started as a direct result of an initative taken by UNESCO who asked the International Academy of Architecture IAA to focus attention on the problems of the explosively growing megalopoli. Prof. Jan Hoogstad, representative from the Netherlands in the IAA, started a nuclear group of experts and professionals in order to develop a programme of activities that would bring the topic of urban development and growth to a wider platform of debate.


The Megacities Foundation aims to assemble knowledge and understanding for all imaginable disciplines in an attempt to comprehend the essence of urban growth to the extent of megalopoli in a world wide cultural and economic diversity, and to use modern techniques of communication for the creation of a world wide platform. During a series of conferences the initiative must expand and comprehension of the massiveness of problems in megacities must gradually grow. Not to create a codex or any kind of blueprint. But to help developping a clearer picture of the systems in societies that contribute to the huge concentration in megacities that might turn against humanity if no counter movement is originated.


The Megacities Foundation was erected in December 1994 and has organised since then the following events:

  • Step-up conference, May 1995 in Rotterdam: "Megacities 2000"
  • First Megacities Lecture, February 1997 in The Hague: Peter Hall, "Megacities, world cities and global cities"
  • Second Megacities Lecture, November 1998 in The Hague: Saskia Sassen, "Urban Economy and Fading Distance, Cities in the Unllimited Space of a Global Network" (working title)

The Megacities Foundation runs this internet-site, to which people can react and discuss about urban development problems. Since the first documents of the Stepping up Conference have been put on in May 1995 there were many reactions. It is the intention to systematise these reactions towards an imput in following Megacities Lectures, and to continue a strictly limited but constant internet debate to which the results of each new Lecture are integrated. In this way the megacities Foundation hopes to stimulate a process of systematic interaction and intervision on a world wide scale.

Contact Address

Hoogstad Architecten
Koen Bolt
PO Box 818
3000 AV Rotterdam
The Netherlands

phone: +31-10-4369644
fax +31-10-4368062