The Urbanization Project and the Marron Institute are working with UN-Habitat and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy to monitor urban expansion in a global sample of cities. A recent post at the Lincoln Institute describes the effort, which will begin with an update to the Atlas of Urban Expansion scheduled for 2015:
The Atlas of Urban Expansion, a critical online resource for data and images tracking global urbanization, will be updated and expanded in a new 2015 edition to reflect the scope of large and fast-growing metropolitan areas around the world.
At the World Urban Forum in Medellin last month, leaders from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (U.N. Habitat), the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and the NYU Stern Urbanization Project signed an agreement to support the research leading to the online publication on their respective websites of the Atlas of Urban Expansion: The 2015 Edition.
The signing ceremony was attended by Eduardo Moreno, head of the Research and Capacity Building Section at U.N. Habitat, Gregory K. Ingram, the president of the Lincoln Institute, and Paul Romer, the director of the NYU Stern Urbanization Project and the Marron Institute. The work on the Atlas will be supervised by NYU’s Shlomo Angel, and will be executed by a team at the University of Connecticut, headed by Daniel Civco.
The mapping of global urbanization in the 21st century is of critical importance in what has been described as the urban century. Today over half the world’s population lives in cities; in the coming decades, two-thirds of the global population will be in cities – six billion people out of a projected total of nine billion. The growth will occur predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. In many cases, the fast-growing cities of the developing world are inadequately prepared to accommodate this rapid growth. The UN estimates that approximately one billion people already live in informal settlement in substandard conditions, and that two-thirds of rural migrants moving into cities in sub-Saharan Africa are moving directly to informal settlements, or slums.
Keeping track of urban expansion is thus a critical component of informing policy and assisting cities in planning for the future. The Atlas of Urban Expansion 2015 Edition will contain maps and metrics describing the expansion of a new global sample of 200 cities, an increase from the 120 cities originally studied. The sample represents five percent of the universe of all cities in the world that had populations of 100,000 or more in the year 2010; it is a stratified sample, containing cities in eight world regions, in four population size classes, and in three categories of countries, based on the number of cities in the country.