30 November 2015
Today more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, a figure that is expected to reach 75% by 2050. Rapid urbanisation is one of the most pressing global issues and the number of megacities (cities with a population of more than 10 million) is growing. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has clearly recognised the vital role of transport in prosperity of the megacities of its member states and, via its Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC), commissioned WYG and Fimotions to produce a study aiming to trigger the debate on how to address urban transport related issues in its member states.
The Islamic megacities have an important role to play in global sustainability as seven of the world’s 28 megacities belong to the Islamic World. The study provided an analysis of the current transport trends in world’s megacities, both in the developed and the developing world, and a thorough examination of the transport conditions and prospects of the seven OIC megacities: Cairo, Dhaka, Karachi, Istanbul, Lagos, Jakarta, and Tehran.
One of the key recommendations made by WYG and Fimotions is that planning for the transport problems in the Islamic megacities requires coordinated actions at a local and national level and, targeted, well planned international support to accelerate development. Strengthening institutional and organisational structures, and consolidating different aspects of planning under a single authority with a refreshed mindset, are key actions.
In terms of transport policies, the coordination between transport and land use planning is considered vital. Among the many benefits of integrated planning are the reduction of travel distances and trips, improved quality of life, time savings, economic benefits for businesses and better conditions for non motorised transport. A robust integration can also tackle social exclusion issues by enabling universal accessibility, a very important aspect when considering special needs of the elderly, women, and the poor and disabled people.
Last but not least, public participation and consultation, which are very often overlooked in current practice, need to become part of future policies. It is stressed that in any case the transferability of solutions from one city to another should be carefully examined. In the case of Islamic megacities, transferability issues can be related to cultural conventions as well as local identity issues.