The Atlas of Urban Expansion Shows How Cities Grow

The "Monitoring Global Urban Expansion Program" gathers and analyzes data on 200 cities around the world. The "Atlas of Urban Expansion" presents the program's preliminary results.

1 minute read

January 17, 2017, 1:00 PM PST

By Todd Litman

Los Angeles sprawl

Melpomene / Shutterstock

As of 2010, the world contained 4,231 cities with 100,000 or more people. The Monitoring Global Urban Expansion Program gathers and analyzes data on a sample of representative 200 cities. The Atlas of Urban Expansion presents the program's preliminary results.

This project by New York University, UN-Habitat the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and numerous collaborators is a comprehensive, ongoing research program to monitor quantitative and qualitative aspects of global urban expansion. The project used medium-resolution Landsat satellite imagery and census data to analyze how these cities grew between 1990 and 2014. Housing development and affordability surveys investigated how land use planning practices and development regulations affect urban fringe development patterns, home ownership patterns and housing affordability in these cities, based on data supplied by city-based researchers. The program has now completed its data collection phase and started evaluation and interpretation. 

According to to the Bible, God told humans to be fruitful and multiply. With satellite images and integrated GIS data sets, researchers can create time-series animations that show how cities are fulfilling these instructions. Cool!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 in Atlas of Urban Expansion

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