World Cities by Continent

We're using the seven-continent model, in which North America and South America are considered separate continents. You may notice, however, that the following page has only six sections: this is because Antarctica has no cities. Yet.

Africa Asia Australia & Oceania Europe North America South America


The Mother Continent, where few cities had existed below the Sahara line until just a few centuries ago, is catching up, big time: this is the continent where mega-cities are currently experiencing by far the strongest growth. All signs point to issues and challenges being numerous this century, but perhaps so will be the solutions and innovations.


The Asian (technically, Eurasian) continent is, as far as we know, the birthplace of the city. The first city of any consequence, Uruk, was founded in the 4th millenium BC in southern Mesopotamia (today's Iraq). This particular corner of the Asian continent was where many of the early-days city-centered empires (the Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian) arose and thrived. Alas, these empires are long gone and Uruk itself is no longer on the map, either: after a very respectable run of a few thousand years, the town was abandoned sometime in the first millenium of our era. (Still, who knows if today's cities will last that long!). Today's Asian cities – mostly in the continent's far east – lead the way in both the pace of urbanization and the sheer quantity of high-rise, high-density construction.

Australia & Oceania


The Old Continent is where cities are currently at their most liveable best. Trams, public spaces, galleries and shopping centers, street lighting, drinking water, and many other urban innovations came from Europe and its many cities. After a millenium of struggling with city living conditions that were, quite frankly, appalling (and often deadly), the Europeans seem to have finally gotten the hang of it. Today, Europe leads the way in de-automobilization and environmentally-friendly innovations.

North America

South America

Page ID: by_continent
Link to self: World Cities by Continent