Writing in Wonkblog, Emily Badger offers her take on the NYU Stern Urbanization Project's visualizations of urban expansion in 30 global cities:
"These videos, from a set of 30 global cities recently animated by NYU, are based on historic maps dating back to 1800 originally compiled and digitized in The Atlas of Urban Expansion, a project of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (they’re planning an updated version next year). The maps reflect both the rapid growth of new development and, in some cases, the swallowing up of existing rural communities as urban centers have expanded.
By 2050, the world’s urban population is expected to rise from about 3.5 billion people today to 6.2 billion, and nearly all of this growth is likely to come outside of already-developed countries. That means that booming places like Lagos, Nairobi, Mumbai and Manila still have a ton of growth ahead of them. And if we don’t think now about how to manage that future urbanization more sustainably, those cities could triple their developed land area by 2050. Those cities could consume resources inefficiently, destroy habitat in the process, and spawn more practical problems like endless gridlock."