By the 2020s, cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Sao Paulo, and New York will have met the criteria for metacity status. These megacities have over 8 million people, and are becoming more like each other in terms of population density. This phenomenon has created new forms of collective human agency and intelligence, from tweets to blog posts, to community sensing to mapping projects and games for change. It has also resulted in countless meta-organizations that are trying to shape urbanization.
The current growth of population has pushed the city's infrastructure to its breaking point, causing a number of problems, including traffic congestion and food shortages. A new example of a meta-structure is the Metrocard system, which replaced tokens with magnetic cards, and created a physical and information network. Another example of a meta-structure is the Octopus system, which links regional transportation systems to local 7-11 convenience stores. Another example is Google traffic.
The concept of a metacity, or "socio-ecological urban metamosaic," is a shorthand for a city that combines multiple centers and a thriving metropolitan area. In a metacity, governance is distributed across several jurisdictions, and the devolution of functions from formal government is likely to make the task even more complex. But the functional metacity concept may serve as a tool to advance sustainability. The spatial heterogeneity of metacities focuses attention on local amenities, ecological processes, and regional fluxes that affect ecosystem services. This means that we may need to consider ways to restore patches to improve the biological contributions of the city's ecosystem.