Atlas of Urban Expansion Shows Persistent Worldwide Decline in Urban Density

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy offers a resource for monitoring and analyzing urban expansion worldwide.  It is called the Atlas of Urban Expansion and it provides the geographic and quantitative dimensions of urban expansion and its key attributes in cities around the world. The data and images are available for free downloading.  Access to the atlas is available here.

The Atlas of Urban Expansion accompanies the Policy Focus Report entitled Making Room for a Planet of Cities. While average, densities in developing countries are double those in Europe and Japan, and densities in Europe and Japan are double those of the United States, Canada, and Australia, the annual growth rate of urban land cover worldwide was twice that of the urban population between 1990 and 2000.

Most of the cities studied expanded their built-up area more than 16-fold in the twentieth century. At present rates of density decline, the world’s urban population is expected to double in 43 years, while urban land cover will double in only 19 years. The urban population of the developing countries is expected to double between 2000 and 2030 while the built-up area of their cities can be expected to triple.




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