As part of their larger report “Developing Urban Futures,” the Cities Urban Age Program at the London School of Economics created a new series of digital density diagrams, 3D models that visually demonstrate the density of people in cities around the world. The maps combine a range of socio-economic data, including where people live, work, and commute to capture the key spatial dimensions of urban economic life. The taller spikes represent larger concentrations of people, while the flatter zones represent lower density concentrations, for example, residential or suburban neighborhoods.
All animations and screenshots courtesy of Justin Fung/Manhattan Population Explorer
There are two million people who reside in Manhattan, but during the workday, thanks to the overwhelming number of commuters, the number of people on the island doubles to four million. This is the highest ratio of daytime-to-nighttime population anywhere in the country. To show how this population pulses over the course of a day, data visualization designer and researcher Justin Fung created the interactive Manhattan Population Explorer. First picked up by Fast Co. Design, the map highlights just how many people fill each city block for 24 hours. The height of crowdedness comes between 12 and 3pm, during which time, unsurprisingly, Midtown and Lower Manhattan show populations nearing 13,000. During the day, these ‘hoods see their populations jump by 10 and four times respectively.
The 2015 census puts New York City’s population at a record high of 8.6 million. This is a 375,000-person increase from 2010, the biggest spike since the 1920s. The rise is attributed to the nearly 250,000 jobs that were created in 2014 and 2015, the $7.3 billion in venture capital present in the city in 2015 (the second-highest level ever), and record-breaking tourism that’s created a boom in the hospitality industry. And of course, with more people comes the need for more places to put them, and Commercial Observer estimates that the city “needs to produce at least 20,000 new housing units each year just to keep pace with demand and population growth.”
It’s widely known that most of the world’s population is concentrated in and around cities, but this cool map created by Max Galka (h/t CityLab) shows us exactly what that spatial disparity looks like. Using NASA’s gridded population data, which zooms in on the number of people inhabiting every nine-square-mile patch of the Earth, Galka colored all the areas boasting more than 8,000 inhabitants with yellow cells, while those with less than that number were marked black. What’s visualized with 28 million cells mapped is that half of the world’s inhabitants (about 7.4 billion people to date) occupy just one percent of the Earth’s land. The rest of the population is sparsely dispersed over the other 99 percent.
New York may be the city that never sleeps, but it certainly pulsates far differently depending on what time of day it is. This fascinating map created by Joe Lertola gives us an idea of just how population-filled areas of Manhattan get during working hours, and how the city empties out at night when most workers head back to their homes in the suburbs.
Though New York City is expected to surpass its 2020 population projections this year, rest assured that there’s plenty of space for all of these folks—and then some.
An amusing and quite informative experiment conducted by Tim Urban of the blog Wait But Why takes a look at just how much space you would need to fit the world’s population comfortably(ish). The investigation, which puts 7.3 billion folks cozily shoulder to shoulder, hinges on the assumption that you can fit ten humans into a square meter.
Think New York City is crowded now? You ain’t seen nothing yet. According to census data and a new report by the Brookings Institute on job proximity, the city is on track for a population boom of professionals raking in big bucks. The city has by far the highest job density in the country, even when the national trend is for both people and jobs to move to the suburbs. Similarly, NYC tops the list of increase in population of college grads between 2007 and 2012 by a landslide. And as The Atlantic observes, this combination is creating a feedback loop that will make our already rich and crowded city even richer and more crowded. “The densest cities tend to be the most educated cities, which are also the richest cities, and often the biggest cities. They’re gobbling up a disproportionate share of college grads. And, as a result, they are becoming richer, denser, and more educated.”