The space exploration work that the various agencies (NASA, ESA, Russian Federal Space Agency, etc.) make public often offers striking images. The night photos us they show territories expanded in a surprising way, forming mega-regions whose scale is difficult to observe from the daily perspective with which we live. And when these images are comparable in their evolution over time, we find ourselves with the best way to explain and understand the scope of the most accelerated urbanization processes.
These two images, provided by NASA, perfectly illustrate these scale changes. Las Vegas It is, along with other North American cities such as Houston or Phoenix, the classic example of territorial expansion in the form of urban sprawl that has kept us so busy and concerned in recent decades. The first image (click to see the original) corresponds precisely to this city in the desert and the evolution of its urban sprawl between 1984 and 2007 (together, by the way, with the decline of the lake).

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The second image (click to see the original) could serve to illustrate, instead, a process that has received a lot of less attention, but it has taken place quietly in Africa and Asia, with their respective particularities. It is about Kampala (Uganda) and its evolution between 1974 and 2008. An even deeper change in which the concept of urban sprawl hardly makes sense.

Now that the most striking headlines are encouraged to talk about the cities of the future, it would be good to remember that the vast majority of the most populated cities (and, to a large extent, the most economically powerful in the future)< b> they look a lot more like Kampala than Las Vegas.