Transforming a city into a modern metropolis takes much more than just having a good city planner around. It’s more about having a strong economy and a proud people working day and night to make the city grow. We have compiled what we see as the top 40 city transformations in the world! You would be surprised how small some of them started.
Dubai has been a fast-growing city since the year 2000. It is part of the United Arab Emirates, the size of a city, the sovereignty of a country, and the wealth of a nation makes this one of the fastest growing places in the world. This is how it looked in the year 2000, you would not believe what it looks like today.
Here we are 19 years later and counting, and look what oil money can do! The Burj Al Arab hotel located in Dubai uses enough gold to cover the Mona Lisa 46,265 times. Dubai has made an artificial island called the Palm Islands with enough sand to fill two Empire State buildings. Not surprising considering the city uses 25% of the world’s cranes.
South Korea has been through a lot since the Korean war in the 1950s ravaged the region. In this picture from the 1900s, you can see how small and empty of a city it was. The nation of South Korea has since seen tremendous growth. You would not believe where they are today!
Today the official name of the city is the Seoul Special Metropolitan City, and as of January 2017, the population of Seoul stands at 10,197,604 residents making it the 5th most populous city in the world! Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.
Lithuania is a really small country, and the city of Vilnius within it is even smaller, and in the 1900s it was extremely small! The city contains one of the largest surviving medieval quarters in Europe. The “Old Town” includes buildings that are almost 2,000 years old and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Today the resident population of Vilnius stands at more than half a million people who rely on tourism to keep the city alive and well. Tourists can enjoy beautiful cathedrals, and museums, eat great food and go on beautiful hikes around the city.
Abu Dhabi 1970
Abu Dhabi in the 1970s looks more like a run-down Bedouin village than it does a bustling city. In the 1950s the population of the city sized emirate nation was only 70,000 people. In 1970 that number grew, mostly because of immigrant workers who were brought to work on rebuilding the nation into a modern one.
Abu Dhabi Now
Today the population of Abu Dhabi is about 2 million people. That’s pretty lovely growth considering the fact that the nation was so small just 70 years ago. It goes to show you what oil money can do! Make sure to check out Abu Dhabi’s many beautiful beaches, Island, and the insanely well-done skyline.
Situated on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai is the most populous city of the United Arab Emirates, a cosmopolitan oasis of architecture and luxury lifestyle. Dubai is, in fact, a gleaming microcosm peacefully shared by various cultures from all corners of the world. It’s an alchemy of futuristic vision and profound traditions. Besides being the cultural hub of the Persian Gulf.
Source: Enjoy Live
Today Dubai has more than 200 skyscrapers. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest building in the world with a height of 828 m (830 m to tip) and 163 floors. Burj Khalifa is also home to the world’s highest restaurant, highest mosque, highest nightclub, and most elevated observatory deck.
Source: Enjoy Live
Rio De Janeiro 1930
Rio de Janeiro means “January River,” and that’s a very poetic name! The city has more than 200 rivers running through it. But which river does it refer to? Well, the answer is none of them. Want to learn how to “Samba?” Then you better get ready for life in the favela as most of the samba schools in Rio are located there.
Rio De Janeiro Now
Today the city of Rio has the population of a country with a resident count of more than 16 million people! Rio is a bustling city full of things to see. Just make sure you keep your valuables close. I mean really close, and don’t hesitate to join a football game on the beach!
In 1932 the population of Sydney was just over one million people. But as you can see, it was already a growing city by then! Post WW2 is where places like Sydney really started to thrive thanks to the help of globalism, and immigration from around the world.
Today the population of Sydney is more than 5 million people. World famous landmark Sydney Harbour Bridge is nicknamed ‘The Coat Hanger.’ It is the tallest steel arch bridge and the widest long-span bridge in the world. The architect for the Syndey Opera House only won £5,000 for the design of the world renown building.
In the 1960s the population of the city of Shenzen was only a few thousand strong! Today the city has more than 12 million residents and counting! Shenzhen was initially a small market town of just 30,000 people on the route of the Kowloon–Canton Railway. Later in 1979 Shenzhen was transformed to city status and in 1980 it was designated as China’s first Special Economic Zone
Today it is the world’s largest manufacturing hub and the wealthiest city in China. It has the highest per capita GDP in China in comparison to other cities in China its average income is more than 50 percent higher than that of Beijing and Shanghai.
Fortaleza is the fifth-biggest city in Brazil, Fortaleza has a history which dates back to the year 1500 AD. It was at the beginning of February in that year that Spanish explorer Vicente Yánez Pinzón landed on the shores of Mucuripe, giving this new land the name ‘Santa Maria de la Consolacion.’
Today Fortaleza is famous for its urban beaches and the beautiful Praia do Futuro beach is a must visit. The beach is located just ten minutes away from the popular Beira Mar Avenue; however, we recommend that you catch a taxi here as it’s a little out of the way.
Bangkok’s nightlife scene at Khaosan Road and Patpong, Grand Palace and Buddhist temples such as Wat Arun and Wat Pho have made the city a major tourism hub with MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index who declare it the most visited city for travel and leisure! But you can’t tell here. Wait until the next picture!
Bangkok is fondly referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’ due to its active nightlife scene as well as having as many canals as Venice in Italy. It is also called ‘City of Angles’ due to its fascination with city planning.
The population of Athens in the 1800s was less than half a million people, this would start to grow post world war two as the city enjoyed a 3 percent growth average from 1955 to 1965 per five-year period. Today there is a slight drop in the population that stands at 3,154,152 people.
Around 17.5 million people visit Greece each year – more than the country’s population. To accommodate the influx, Greece has one of the highest numbers of international airports for any country, the most significant being in Athens
The population of Toronto in 1930 was just a bit over 600,000 people. Today the capital of Ontario boasts more than 6 million residents and is the fifth largest city in North America! In the 1700s the city was actually called “York” and was only changed to be named Toronto in 1834.
The Toronto Stock Exchange is the third largest in North America and the seventh largest in the world. The city ranks as the twelfth most economically powerful city in the world – based on economic output, innovation, its’ global economic power score, and its’ financial center score.
After the fall of Germany in 1945, the city of Berlin looked so gloomy and full of scars that the world thought it would take at least 1,000 years for it to be rebuilt, especially considering half the city was split to the Soviet Union, who lets face it, was not keen on giving its people a good life.
Today the city has made a comeback and is more than three and a half million strong in population! The bustling modern city of Berlin is nine times the size of Paris, and is home to some of the best technological breakthroughs in the world! Berlin’s public transport system travels 8.7 times around the Earth every day, and almost half of it lies underground.
The capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta is not an official city, it is actually a province. But it had gained the special status of being the capital of the Republic of Indonesia. Before WW2 Indonesia was a Dutch colony and there are still historical remnants of Dutch influence in the city of Jakarta, for instance, the Dutch cannons which still occupy a proud position in the old town of Jakarta.
Jakarta people are crazy shoppers. They love to visit their shopping malls so much that the malls are open 24/7. There are about 130 shopping malls scattered all over Jakarta city. There are 76 coral islands where you can dive or go snorkeling. 144, that’s the number of fish species there are on the Islands around Jakarta, make sure you’re ready for a good time.
In the 1920s the city of Melbourne only had about 100,000 residents. It must have been fun to live there back then, today the city is far more congested than residents probably imagined at the time! After all, the population of Australia itself in the 1920s was only 5.44 million in total!
Today the population of Melbourne is almost the population that the nation of Australia was in the 20s at 4.443 million, and the headcount in the whole country is more than 25 million and growing! That being said, 90% of Australians live on the coasts of the nation. That’s a lot of beach goers!
The “Roaring 20s” were considered to be a time of Jubilation and hedonism for the people London. Women had experienced a new sense of freedom after World War Two, considering all the men were off at war. At the same time, America was beginning a period called “The Great Depression.”
Today the population of London is a little more than 9 million people. Queen Elizabeth 2 may be the head of State, but she needs permission from the Lord Mayor to enter the city of London. Now, who would have thought that? In 2014, 16 million people visited London, making it the most-visited city in the world.
Istanbul in the early 1900s looks oddly similar to what it looks like today, a significant difference between the two is the fact that it was controlled by the Ottoman Empire at the time. The population back then was less than half a million. That has for sure changed in the past 100 years and counting.
Today the population of Istanbul is almost 15 million people! Istanbul has a total of 3,113 mosques and is a city that sits on two different continents, half in Europe and half in Asia. Check out the Hagia Sophia, you see it there on the right. Did you know it is one of the largest mosques in the world!
New York 1962
New York City was actually known to be a pretty desolate place for most of its life cycle. Until the early millennium, the city had some of the highest crime rates and substance abuse in America. The population in NY was still insane compared to the rest of the world for its time, in the 60s it was more than 7 million residents. Guess what it is today?
New York Now
Today the population of New York is more than eight and a half million people. There are millions of restaurants to choose from, iconic selfie spots, and always great museums to visit. Make sure to check Elis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Oh, and don’t forget to get yourself an “I Love NY” T-Shirt!
Kuala Lumpur 1920
The population of Kuala Lumpur was only a mere 200,000 residents in the year 1920! The city has since grown exponentially and as of 2019 has a population almost akin to NY of more than seven and a half million people.
Kuala Lumpur Now
Kuala Lumpur is fondly known as KL, and its residents are known as “KLites.” Make sure you check out the Petronas Towers while your there, and make sure you don’t come during the rainy season, as the city floods profusely during the winter rainy season.
Los Angeles 1940
La in the 1940s was still just as competitive then as it is today when it comes to the movie business, but when it came to high skylines, and bustling roads, things were a bit different. The population of LA then was one million five hundred and four thousand people. Today that number has grown to more than 4 million residents, but the city feels like there are 100s of million there at once!
Los Angeles Now
When LA was founded, the city’s full name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles Sobre el Rio Porciuncula.” (if you don’t know Spanish), that translates to “The town of our lady queen of the angels on the Porciuncula River.” Oh, and you know Dodger Stadium sits atop where oil was first discovered in LA in 1892!