Want Better Cities?

As the global population swelled, people have gravitated to cities. More than half the world’s population now lives in cities, compared to 3 percent in 1800, according to the United Nations. Researchers at Yale and University of Canterbury have plotted 6000 years of urbanization history in an online database with details on size of cities as well as how, when and where they emerged, reports Liz Stinson for Wired. The data set offers lessons for modern urban planners and insights on the evolving nature of humans. “Whether it is for a timely response for catastrophes, the delivery of disaster relief, assessing human impacts on the environment, or estimating populations vulnerable to hazards, it is essential to know where people and cities are geographically distributed,” write Meredith Reba, Femke Reitsma and Karen Seto in the paper published by Scientific Data. Reba’s purpose was to explore connections between agricultural fertility and development, but the data, available free for download, could be used by researchers in any area and reveal numerous patterns and back-and-forth influences between people and their communities. – YaleGlobal

Want Better Cities?

Online data base of 6,000 years of data on urbanization could reveal new patterns and insights on sustainability and human behavior
Liz Stinson
Friday, July 8, 2016

Read the article from Wired.

Read the article “Spatializing 6,000 Years of Global Urbanization From 3700 BC to AD 2000” from Scientific Data.


Liz Stinson is a Brooklyn-based reporter for Wired Design. She likes talking to people about technology, innovation and pretty things