Atlas of Urban Expansion

Atlas of Urban Expansion

Monitoring Global Urban Expansion Program
  • Atlas of Urban ExpansionAtlas of Urban Expansion

Promoted by UN Habitat, is the bigger research on urban expansion ever realised.

A huge number of scholar everywhere in the world has participated (Thomas Aguilera, Camille Allé and Tommaso Vitale, Sciences Po, CEE, teaching in the Sciences Po Urban School)

We focus our monitoring efforts on cities of 100,000 people or more. Different countries have adopted different thresholds for a human settlement to be considered a ‘city’, but there is near universal agreement that a settlement of 100,000 people or more constitutes a city. We also focus our attention not on single municipalities but on entire metropolitan areas: contiguous urban areas that may contain many municipalities are considered to be a single city. 

We define cities by the extent of their built-up area, rather than by their administrative or its jurisdictional boundaries. The extrema tectorum—the limit of the built-up area of the city, as it was referred to in Ancient Rome—defines the city, and the city thus defined is our unit of analysis. We have now identified 4,245 cities on our planet that were homes to 100,000 people or more in 2010. These 4,245 cities constitute our Universe of Cities with a total population amounted to 2.5 billion, or 70 percent of the world’s 2010 urban population of 3.6 billion.

In the website you will find:

- an interactive map

- the two tomes of the atlas

- methodology details 

- data and tables concerning:

1) Areas and Densities for each of the cities
2) Blocks and Roads 
3) Historical Data for Blocks and Roads

More information about the Atlas of urban expansion 

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