New York City / Tuesday Oct 14,2014
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

The Rise and Fall of Manhattan's Densities

The New York Public Library Auditorium

The New York Public Library's Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, the NYU Stern Urbanization Project and the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management present The Rise and Fall of Manhattan Densities: 1790 - 2010. 

At this event, Dr. Shlomo Angel, author of the recent Planet of Cities, and his collaborator Patrick Lamson-Hall will introduce a new perspective on Manhattan's colorful history based on their rigorous measurement of the city's changing residential densities as neighborhoods were built and expanded over hundreds of years. Angel and Lamson-Hall used rare and newly digitized materials from NYPL's Map Division and the Library's collection of historical population data to study changes in Manhattan's built-up area and ward boundaries alongside census data for the city. In this multimedia presentation, they will discuss the history of Manhattan's densities together with the parallel histories of immigration, economic growth, transportation, and suburbanization. The presentation will illustrate how the built-up area of the island expanded northward from the time of the first U.S. census in 1790 filling up the island completely only in the early 1950s. Angel and Lamson-Hall will also show how the population densities of Manhattan's built-up neighborhoods increased significantly during the 19th century and then decreased dramatically throughout the 20th century, recovering only marginally in the last two decades. Their presentation will be followed by a question and answer session, and reception. 


Shlomo (Solly) Angel
Shlomo (Solly) Angel
Director / Urban Expansion
Professor of City Planning /

Shlomo (Solly) Angel is a Professor of City Planning at the Marron Institute. He leads the NYU Urban Expansion based at the Marron Institute and the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. Angel is an expert on urban development policy, having advised the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He currently focuses on documenting and planning for urban expansion in the developing world.

In 1973, he started a program in Human Settlements Planning and Development at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok. He taught at the Institute from 1973 to 1983, while researching housing and urban development in the cities of East, South, and Southeast Asia. From the mid-80s to mid-90s, he worked as a housing and urban development consultant to UN-Habitat, the Asian Development Bank, and the Government of Thailand. In 2000, he published Housing Policy Matters, a comparative study of housing conditions and policies around the world. From 2000 onward, he prepared housing sector assessments of 11 Latin America and Caribbean countries for the IDB and the World Bank.

Angel earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a doctorate in city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

Patrick Lamson-Hall
Patrick Lamson-Hall
Research Scholar / Urban Expansion

Patrick Lamson-Hall is a Research Scholar in the NYU Urban Expansion program. He recently completed his Masters in Urban Planning at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. His research interests include urbanization in the developing world, development economics, and historical urbanization.