People often look at modern cities, complete with their skyscrapers, advanced structures and architecture, and impressive skylines, and they are usually impressed. Some people even travel all around the world just to see the different skylines that are offered from cities across the globe. However, the reality is often a bit different than what it appears. You may not always be shown the other side of urban development. Whether it is slums, a lack of nature and greenage, or just overpopulation, urban development can have its faults. If you want to see some of the worst (or best) examples of major cities and architecture gone wrong, this is the article for you.
Light Pollution From the Train in China
Most people know that living super close to a train track is not the ideal situation. You want to live close enough that you can easily access the train, but you don't want to be too close, to the point that you can't sleep at night due to the noise. Well, in some places, like China, the lack of sleep is more related to the light than the noise as there is excessive light pollution.
This track was built right over top of these nice homes, causing them to have to get blackout curtains in their homes if they wanted to sleep at night without the bright artificial lights.
A Line of Buildings in Hong Kong
What can you do when you have a massively high population of people and just not enough space for them all to live? That is exactly what is happening in Hong Kong, and you can see the negative affects of that in this architecture. After all, this isn't exactly the beautiful skylines that you imagine when you picture cities, especially cities like Hong Kong. However, this is the reality of concrete jungles.
Development is usually a good thing, but urban development does make for a bit of an exception. This looks almost like a massive area of jail or prison, even though they are probably expensive apartments.
Never Ending Balconies in Thailand
At first glance, you might not even be able to figure out what is going on in this photo. It is hard to tell that this is the outside of a building, a hotel, in Thailand. And the endless repetition is actually hundreds of balconies from the rooms of the hotel. Although it is nice that they are at least offering rooms with a balcony for a little bit of fresh air, this is on the extreme side.
Imagine calling this hotel to make sure you are getting a room with a balcony. There is practically no chance that you would get a room without one at this rate.
Endless Traffic in Gurugram India
India is infamous for being one of the worst places for drivers in the world. Not only is the traffic known to be horrendous, but the population is one of the highest and most densely packed in the world. This photo of a road during rush hour in Gurugram, India is the prime example of urban life gone wrong. It must take those drivers hours of sitting in traffic before they get through this block.
Can you even imagine the anxiety going through the minds of some of the drivers in the back, knowing that they will be waiting there seemingly endlessly?
A Satellite View of New Delhi
When you look at this photo, it is very clear that India is indeed the most populous country in the world, slightly outranking China. The capital city of India, New Delhi, can be seen in this satellite photo and the results are a bit terrifying. You might not even know or be able to tell that this is a city at all from the first glance. It looks more like a bunch of rocks.
There isn't even the littlest bit of greenage anywhere in sight. It doesn't look like they have any parks or even any trees, This is truly the definition of a concrete jungle.
A House Under the Train Tracks in Naples
Naples is a place that is famous for its pizza and its cuisine, however, it is not famous for its abundance of space for housing, as can be proven by this image of a full multi-story house that is built underneath train tracks. Although it is not known if the house was built first and they refused to move it after the train was built, or if they just had nowhere else to build a house and chose here, it is also not clear which option is worse.
It looks like there are quite a few people who live in this building. You can only hope that the rent is cheap to compensate for the noise and the location!
Never Ending Skyscrapers in Hong Kong
This is the second time that Hong Kong has made it on the list of some of the worst concrete jungles in the world. It is no surprise, however, when you see the seemingly endless line of buildings that block all scenery and views of anything else in the city, if there is even anything else to see except for more buildings. This photo itself is of the Caribbean Coast Estate.
Some countries do not even have cities with one or two skyscrapers of this height, it's crazy to think that there are countless in Hong Kong like this.
A Sign for Everyone in Cairo
After seeing this picture of Cairo, Egypt, it is no surprise that some cities have made the decision to ban billboards in their major cities. After all, who can even read half of the signs that have been put up here, let alone process any of the information? It is overwhelming and just shows how the overdevelopment of a city can be taken to the extreme and destroy the face of the city.
Although there is something artistic and cool about this photo, there is also something surreal and disturbing about it. How do they allow so many signs to be put up?
Endless Cars and Traffic in Istanbul
It is no secret that every major city is plagued with a problem...traffic. There is almost no way to avoid this issue, especially when it comes to rush hour in a city as large as Istanbul. However, there is also something somewhat scary about seeing so many cars driving on this massive road at once. Not only are they all polluting the earth, but there are just so many of them it's hard to comprehend the amount!
The people leaving Istanbul are actually the lucky ones here. They can see all the traffic going in the other direction and know that they won't be stuck in it!
Rio De Janeiro's Hidden Side
Although when people think of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil they usually think of the massive Jesus statue overlooking the entire area, beautiful beaches, and a bustling city, they don't usually also think of the favelas that are on the other side of the famous Rio. It almost seems like the Brazilian government tries to hide this side of the city from the rest of the world, and just keep them looking at the beaches and expensive parts of Rio.
At least this favela gets a beautiful view of the mountains and one of the most famous statues in the world. A slight paradox!
The Haunted Houses of Detroit, Michigan
These abandoned and seemingly haunted houses that can be spotted and seen throughout the city of Detroit, Michigan just show the dark side of any city. Detroit is one of the cities in the US with the highest poverty rates and correspondingly high crime rates. Although some of these houses actually look like art due to the ways that they have crumbled, they show a dark side of the city's life.
The city just does not have the funding or the ability to upkeep some of the structures throughout the city leaving it in shambles.
Old Meets New in Moscow
There is something beautiful about the combination of old and new. If you are someone who appreciates history with modern technology and architecture, then maybe Moscow is the place for you. Even if you do not like the juxtaposition, you will certainly appreciate the uniqueness of it in this photo. It is quite rare to see such modern buildings and skyscrapers, massive in size, placed so close to old Soviet style apartments and houses.
The skyscrapers seem like giants next to the other buildings which are also undoubtedly relatively tall. They just seem so tiny and meek compared to the massive concrete (or glass) jungle.
The Slums of Mumbai
There is something truly heartbreaking about this photo. It is both heartbreaking and shocking at the same time. It is hard to imagine that there are so many people living in conditions such as this in places like Mumbai. However, somehow this has become somewhat normal for so many different people who are living in poverty in these massive urbanized cities. Even if they don't have skyscrapers and concrete jungles, they are feeling the downsides of urban life, combined with poverty.
These people are living right next to and on top of these massive water pipes that provide water to luxurious apartments in the city. Meanwhile, the people living here are carrying buckets of water home and usually do not have running water.
From a Sea View to a Skyscraper View
Imagine spending all of your money to buy an apartment or a home. You are excited as there is a beautiful view of the sea and this is a place that you come to relax and enjoy yourself on vacation. However, just a few years after you purchase your dream vacation property, you find that they start to construct and build massive skyscrapers like these ones, blocking your beautiful sea view.
It is so sad to see a beautiful and quaint location like this destroyed by urban development and the attempt to squish too many people into one place.
Endless Identical Apartments in Hong Kong
If you ever want to feel like you are not an individual and simply a part of a massive group of people who are exactly like everyone else, then maybe Hong Kong is the place for you. This is the city with endless buildings and repetitive architecture. It almost seems like they hired one person to design all the buildings in the city. They built a prototype and then just did "copy, paste" for the rest of the city.
Imagine walking up to this place for the first time and trying to find the apartment of a friend or a family member. You would practically have no chance of ever finding it.
Sunset by the Metro in Manila, Philippines
Although at first glance you may just be thinking that this is a beautiful photo of a sunset, you will only be temporarily distracted from the sad sight of the trash and poverty in the city below. The people living in this area of Manila in the Philippines are not living the best life possible with the highest quality of living and that shows by the conditions in this photo.
The Philippines is not a wealthy country compared to many others around the world, however, the government could try to allocate funds to fix up the city a bit and help its people out of poverty.
Try Not to Be Shocked While Swimming in Burlington Beach
Although most people aren't even lucky enough to be living in a place with a water source like a river or the ocean or a lake nearby, maybe not everyone should swim in any body of water that they can find. Residents of Burlington Beach Ohio seem to be risking it all in order to just go for a swim. With all those power lines hanging around, it seems to be a risky endeavor.
When you see the concrete jungle that is behind them, it makes sense they want to escape to nature for a swim. But it's sad to see what humans did to what was a beautiful natural place at one point!
Every Building Is the Same in This Chinese City
So on the one hand this city appears to have a very beautiful view and some impressive scenery and nature surrounding it, but on the other hand, there is something eerily disturbing about the identical french fry like buildings that cover the entire area. Although the city may have been planned out to the tee, there is something creepy about living in buildings that lack any type of individuality, especially to this level.
If you were just looking from the outside, how would you ever find your home? At least it makes the real estate market in the city quite simple for buyers and agents alike.
A Mansion Built Under a Bridge in San Francisco
Sometimes cities are densely populated that people who want a decent sized home are simply not able to find one. Especially if they are looking for a ground floor place that is not just an apartment, the search can become a nightmare and nearly impossible. That is perhaps just what happened in San Francisco where this mansion was built underneath Bay Bridge. It looks like a lovely home, just a terrible location!
It is not clear if the bridge was built around this house or if the house was built after the bridge was built. Either way, the location is less far than ideal.
A Neighborhood in Phnom Penh Cambodia Is Right Out of Game
Although you may not think that the neighborhoods and communities that you see sometimes in games and the like are actually based on reality, if this gated community in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is any gauge, maybe they are! Either games were based on this reality or they used games as their design inspiration for this little neighborhood. Either way, it is surreal how this place is designed and built so identically.
People who try to describe which house is theirs when they live in this community probably have a nearly impossible time. How do they even manage to make them slightly more individual?
The Merry Christmas Out of a Horror Film
You probably never thought that something as sweet and simple as "Merry Christmas" could ever come across looking as horrifying as this. However, these people in Brazil managed to make the scariest Merry Christmas sign that was plastered on a furnace and truly looks like something out of a horror film. Everything about it is creepy, from the smoke and the darkness of the furnace to the red lights saying "Merry Christmas" in Portuguese.
This is really the epitome of urban development gone wrong. At least they are trying to make it a bit better with the jolly Merry Christmas sign, however, the backdrop ruins the effect.
The Never-Ending City of Tokyo
If you ever want to see what it looks like to have a city that seems to just go on forever, then all you have to do is look at this picture of Tokyo that was taken from Skytree. It truly looks like an extremely densely populated place from above and it looks like one that seems to never end. It literally disappears into the abyss of the skyline in the back.
Maybe it is just the angle of the photo, but the buildings don't seem to be excessively high or too uniform, so at least there is some individuality in this massive city.
The Reflection of Tokyo
So although just about all the other photos on this list consisted of urban disasters and overwhelming concrete jungles, this photo is perhaps the only exception. It's hard not to admire the artistic elements of this photo and to see the beauty in this type of city life and development. After all, those lights are quite beautiful, the building is in good condition, and the reflection of it all on the water is impressive.
This is perhaps the opposite of an example of urban development gone wrong. If only all of the development could be like this example in the city of Tokyo.
Is It a Kindergarten or a Jail Near Vorkuta, Russia
The gulags of Russia are quite infamous for many different reasons. One of the main ones is for the deaths and terrible conditions in the camps themselves. For a little bit of a taste of what it was like in one of the most well-known gulags in Russia, called Vorkuta, you can see what life was like for children going to Kindergarten. This creepy and abandoned building looks more like a jail than a place of education.
At least they did try to paint some of thee infrastructure on the outside so that it wouldn't look so dismal and dreary. The sun and the lighthouse do add a bit of color and happiness to the overall picture.
Thousands of Phone Lines in the Sky
Most people would agree that the invention of the phone was a remarkable one that changed the entire world. While people mostly just have wireless phones now, there was a time when everyone had wired home lines. And with those wired home lines came skies that were filled with endless phone wires in the sky. It almost looked like a net of phone lines covering the sky at all times.
Don't worry about massive and tall skyscrapers, they are the ones that are blocking the lights from the cities, at least back in the day. It was all the phone lines!
Rainbow Over the Favela
This truly looks like something right out of a book cover. How is it possible that there is such a perfect rainbow, a double rainbow even?! And the contrast of the rainbow against the difficult living conditions of this favela in Brazil is quite shocking in particular. However, there is also something beautiful about it and very artistic. But you can still see how difficult the quality of life must be there, even despite the rainbow.
At least the people living in this favela have a very beautiful view to wake up to on this day, even if the view of the favela is less than ideal.
The Worst View in Naples
Although Naples is famous for many things, most importantly veing the inventors of pizza. However, you may not know that there is also a less romantic side to this city. There are plenty of places throughout the city that are featuring a view like this one. It looks like a bit of a slum and probably isn't the Italy you imagine in the books and pictures and videos that you see about it.
It may not help that it is a rainy day, so the entire view looks a lot more dismal and gray and depressing, but even on a sunny day it still wouldn't look great.
Is It a City or Is It a Parking Space?
Although one of the main things that people who live in the city complain about is the lack of parking spaces, they may have taken it a little too far in this place. They turned a cute and quaint city into a place that is filled just with parking lots. At least there is mostly likely no shortage of parking here, as it appears to be almost completely empty as well.
The funniest part about this is that there are just a few parking spaces that are even being used. They allocated way too much space to the parking area here.
Building Meets Airplane in Kowloon
Although the title of this one makes it almost seem as if there was a crash between the airplane and the buildings in Kowloon (which used to be a part of Hong Kong), that is not the case. This simply used to be the reality for people living in Kowloon before it was demolished. It used to be one of the most densely populated areas on earth so it makes sense that they have now turned it into something better.
This photo doesn't even do justice to how densely populated this place one, but you can sort of get the idea just from the airplane's proximity to the buildings.
Is It a University or a Prison in Rio De Janeiro
It seems like Rio De Janeiro, Brazil has made it onto this list a few times already. However, this one may just be the worst example of the urban decay that this city is facing. It would be hard for most people to believe that this is actually not a prison, but rather it is the State University of Rio De Janeiro. That doesn't seem like the happiest place to study!
Imagine having to go to school every day and this is the building that you went to. It is even a bit scary!
Walled City of Lahore in Pakistan
Most people don't know too much about the cities or the landscapes of Pakistan, as it is not one of the most visited countries in the world. However, it managed to make its way onto this list of cities that show the issues with urban development. This part of the city, known as the Neon District doesn't really look like a paradise to live in despite the aesthetic of the exciting neon lights.
Even the name of this place, the Walled City of Lahore, sounds intimidating. And it looks a little bit that way as well.
When the Freeway Takes up the Whole City
Some people really love big roads. They get excited about the fact that their city has a nice big highway running through it. Although those people are not the most common, they do exist. It is still sort of shocking for the rest of the world when they see someone getting excited about the fact that there is a massive highway going through the city when it could be green space.
This is a road in Los Angeles, California, as area known for the decay of the city and for having countless issues with homelessness and lack of affordable living spaces.
Jakarta and Its Slums by the River
You can see the skyline of part of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia and it appears to be a pretty progressive, clean, and modernized city. But apparently, that does not add up to a city without massive portions of it devoted to slums. Unfortunately, there are massive portions of Jakarta that are actual slums, located by a heavily polluted river. You can see the difference in quality of life.
Some areas of the city seem to be flourishing while others are struggling quite a bit. There is a very big gap.
Crumbling Houses in Gary, Indiana
Although you probably expected no less from a city located in Indiana and named Gary, you may not have expected to see a building in such a state as this one. It does appear to be quite far from some of the other parts of the city, but then again, maybe this is the heart of the city and it is located that much in the middle of nowehere.
Regardless, they should either try to fix up this eyesore or demolish and rebuild it.
The Skyline of Newtown, India
It's hard to tell if this photo should be proof that this is a beautiful new city in the making or if it is a horror in progress. The orange skies and the tiny sun are beautiful but they are also a bit shocking, especially combined with the shadowed and tall buildings that are taking over the entire skyline. It's hard to understand if this is the downside or the upside of urban development.
Either way, it is a beautiful photo. The debates can continue if this is a good or part part of development in the city!