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UGHH: 15 Of The Most Poorly Designed Cities Have Been Revealed

UGHH: 15 Of The Most Poorly Designed Cities Have Been Revealed

From mile-high skyscrapers to odd-looking buildings, the world just can’t help upgrading to colossal sizes and more bizarre designs. While some places look fancy and modern, there are others that show us what poor urban planning actually means. After all, we all know the feeling of being stuck in a traffic jam for hours –  it sure feels like there’s no way out of it, right? Indeed, you can totally blame it on the city’s urban planners who, obviously, messed it all up. So once you step in and about the city, you’ll realize that you can barely breathe out there. Moreover, the traffic congestion in these places is so heavy that it will have you boxed in for hours. Also, the charismatic presence of places like Dubai won’t make much difference either. Apart from its glory, Dubai is nothing but an extremely populous city with some major downsides too.

To get to the core of things, we picked the brains of several urban planners to highlight the flaws of these otherwise beautiful cities. Enjoy your ride through the craziest and most poorly designed cities that can offer you some insane traffic jam experiences. Thanks to their messy systems, architectural and urban planning, these cities totally qualify as the worst designed places on the planet.

15. Jakarta

via Inside The Light, Outside The Dark

Meet this Indonesian city that really sounds like it’s going to give you some killer headaches throughout your exotic trip. Famous for its incredibly heavy traffic jams, Jakarta’s roadways are probably the most poorly planned EVER. Thanks to its extremely complicated infrastructure, the average roadway trip will take you at least a few hours. So if you think that Jakarta’s heavy traffic jam is like pure hell, well, that’s because it really is. Good luck reaching your destination especially with the ever-increasing number of cars on the road.

14. Boston, MA

via Complex

There’s no denying that Beantown’s home to one of the most beautiful American neighborhoods. As such, it’s pretty easy to see why it’s got so many tourists that come from all over the world. But much like anything else in life, there’s always a cloud to go along with every silver lining. So Boston isn’t really an exception to this rule. In fact, Boston is constantly ranked as a city that’s pretty hard to navigate. If you ask locals, they’d most likely put the blame on the winding cow paths that the city was originally built on. And in truth, it’s the maze-like layout of the streets that lies at the core of the problem.

13. Dubai

via Gulf News

Dubai is hands down one of the most coveted destinations on the planet. As such, it’s absolutely no wonder why it’s got such an insane international fan base. Blinded by its glamour and luxury, tourists often forget how crowded and impractical Dubai really is. From sky-high buildings to fancy residential areas that lack any sense of cohesion, Dubai’s streets are pretty much impossible to walk. So no matter how exotic and shiny Dubai looks, it has got more flaws than you can ever imagine. For example, its deficiency in shared public spaces totally proves it. Besides, there are just too many people wherever you go!

12. Atlanta, GA

via Business Insider

Well, Jakarta may be famous for its world-class traffic congestion, but it’s hardly any better in Atlanta, GA. As a matter of fact, the traffic jams out there in Atlanta are legendary and its citizens can totally account for this statement. Many citizens and car owners put the blame on the massive urban sprawl which resulted from A-town’s boom back in the day. Also, the Interstate 75/85 connector sits right in the middle of Atlanta’s downtown which only makes it worse. Well, it’s not like this insane congestion is beyond repair. In fact, Atlanta could improve its massive congestion problem by the presence of a mass transit system or something like that. But anyway, who are we to give opinions, right?

11. Naypyidaw

via The Bohemian Blog

Meet the considerably modern capital of Myanmar which is said to have developed greatly since 2005. In fact, this curious city has grown to roughly 5 times the size of major American cities, like New York. But as we all know, such sudden growth may trigger some issues as well. Let’s take its  20-lane highways as a fitting example. It does sound great to live in a booming city with widespread and ultra-fast Wi-Fi connection, right? But how about its poor population and infrastructure plans? It’s all nice and cool until the moment you get on the 20-lane highway: you’re literally on your own there during the busiest time of the day. Bottom line: Myanmar’s infrastructure is a resounding failure.

10. São Paulo

via JetBox

Here we are with another city that practically fell victim to the modern vision of the urban planners. Well, it’s true that Sao Paulo’s transition from a small city into a booming metropolis, spanning over 3,000 sq.m, is a great accomplishment. But we can’t really say the same thing about the city’s ideas to facilitate the traffic jam. The city’s urban planners had the idea to replace one of the busiest neighborhoods with the Minhocão: a 2-mile highway that snakes its way directly through the heart of Sao Paulo while passing by locals’ residences. On top of that, Sao Paulo opted for commuting via helicopter as a way to avoid congestion in general. How crazy is that?!

9. Missoula, MT

via Big Sky Words

When looking at it from above, you’ll probably find Missoula a wonderful place. Well, that’s until you notice a specific neighborhood famous for its bizarre slant streets. In fact, this is the most curious and unique feature about this neighborhood. It owes its odd nickname to the only part of the city that doesn’t follow the regular grid pattern, with its streets running towards the local Clark Fork River instead. Rumor has it that there were two lawyers who wanted to establish a new town called South Missoula. Therefore, they came up with a scheme parallel to the Bitterroot Wagon Road. Sadly, the plan was turned down so the same street plan got surrounded by a grid pattern, which, obviously, didn’t go as planned. Thus, the bizarre idea of the Slant Streets came alive.

8. Dhaka

via the New Republic

Much like any other city on this list, Dhaka is another excellent example of a poorly designed place. Similar to any big metropolis, Dhaka totally serves as a hotbed of major urban planning catastrophes. Much like Sao Paulo, Dhaka’s always suffered from an incredible urban dysfunction. Let’s take its infrastructure as an example – its urban planning is so bad that there’s barely an effective transportation network at all.  It’s gotten to the point where only about 60 of the city’s major and most essential intersections offer traffic lights. Also, you should probably avoid driving at dusk since many of the traffic lights may not really work….

7. Salvador, Brazil

via Playbuzz

Don’t think that there’s only one Brazilian city that’s got some major infrastructure problems. In fact, we’ve got 3 more to go, including Salvador. Similar to our previous Brazilian example, Salvador is a gorgeous place with a population going over 3.3 million. Now that you know how populous Salvador is, just imagine what’s going on during the busiest hours of the day. As a matter of fact, the average travel time during rush hours in Salvador is over 43% longer than usual. Due to its inappropriate urban planning, which is basically a complete disaster, Salvador absolutely earned a spot on this list.

6. New Orleans, Louisiana

via USA Today

Ever heard of the notorious Hurricane Katrina? The disastrous hurricane practically destroyed the city due to its poor levee system. In fact, this levee system was supposed to protect the city against the heavy blows of such storm surges. But unfortunately, the system proved itself to be a pretty useless and ineffective one which even cost the lives of so many people in New Orleans. And this happened only because the city was originally built on soft sand, clay, and silt. Indeed, it seems like the famous song “New Orleans is Sinking” holds true to a certain extent.

5. Brasilia, Brazil


Unlike San Paulo, which basically lacks any shape and design, Brasilia is literally drowning in way too much design. Sometimes “less is more” but not in Brasilia. Actually, the city is the perfect antonym of humbleness and simplicity. It has got so much of everything that this Brazilian city was even considered artificial and sterile. Well, it sure offers a unique architectural vision, which is good. However, it’s just way too much. Besides, the city was originally designed to house no more than 500,000 inhabitants. If you do the math, you’ll see that Brasilia’s population goes beyond this number. Presently, this otherwise charming city houses more than 3 million people. Pretty nice, huh?

4. Bangkok, Thailand

via Wikipedia

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Bangkok is a wonderful and exotic destination that’s totally worth the visit. But if we look beyond its adventurous and mysterious side, this place is nothing more than a poorly planned city. Not only does it lack secondary road systems, but also its main road network will surely have you boxed in during rush hours. Don’t say that such an experience will hardly affect your opinion about this place on your way back home. It sure is an important element that will facilitate your journey across the city’s best tourist spots. But no, Bangkok’s main road system barely cares about your opinion of its poorly managed infrastructure.

3. Istanbul, Turkey

via Ekathimerini

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Turkey? Well, there’s definitely one thing that degrades the city’s livability. You may not know this, but Istanbul happens to be the most congested city featured on the TomTom’s Annual Traffic Index. Vehicles are literally everywhere as there’s basically no sidewalk for pedestrians. So how are they supposed to feel safe when there are cars blocking even the small back streets?! Indeed, Istanbul simply beats any other city’s urban issues regarding the heavy traffic congestion. Sadly, even the wide arteries which cut through the Turkish city are kind of blocked as well.

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

via Humanosphere

Known as Brazil’s largest settlement, Rio de Janeiro is a lovely city that attracts millions of tourists year-round. Its beauty and exotic nature, however, caused many issues over the years. Newcomers often settle in the city and build their own houses wherever they choose even though they lack official papers proving their land ownership. On top of that, Rio de Janeiro’s yet to find an effective solution to its hundreds of urban issues, including the high unemployment rates, financial crisis, issues in rural health, etc. You can easily see that Rio’s road network is the last issue that needs to be solved by its government.

1. Chengdu, China

via YouTube

Saying that China is a stranger to the heavy traffic congestion would be the biggest joke ever. There’s no denying that China can give us the best example of how messed up traffic jams and infrastructure systems are in different parts of the world. In truth, the city’s infrastructure is so poorly planned and carried out that you’d probably need at least a couple of hours to get to work. When you add in the population of Chengdu, which goes over 10.3 million, you’ll realize that the average travel trip in rush hours takes about 41% longer than usual. Bottom line: you should have stayed home instead. Why do you need to go out, right?


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