Three major urban revolutions have transformed the world. The first saw the emergence of the premodern city between 11,000 and 5,000 years ago, in different parts of the world. Cities were hugely influential but small in size, tiny urban pinpricks in a vast rural ocean. The second urban revolution began in the late eighteenth century with the creation of the industrial city. An archipelago of industrial cities was established around the developed world. We are living in the middle of the third urban revolution, global in character, that involves rapid and large-scale urbanization, the increasing size of cities, the growth of megacities of over 10 million people and the creation of metropolitan urban regions spreading across the landscape. The urban history of the world is the move from tiny city islands to vast conurbations. In 1800 only three out of every hundred people in the world lived in cities; by 2013 it was more than one out of every two. More people now live in cities than in rural areas. We inhabit an increasingly urban and urbanizing world.
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