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How Cities Grow a visualization

Posted On: April 5, 2014

How Cities Grow

What would it look like if you could view the growth of a major city over the course of almost 200 years from above? Well, now you have your answer? These three videos show the almost Rorschach inkblot like growth of major cities around the world. Granted, the symmetry might be lacking when compared to a Rorschach test but the beauty and expansion is just captivating.

How Cities Grow and seeing it play out in this manner is interesting because it makes you think about the Topography of the land and how it helps or impedes growth. Then, couple that with master planning (Paris is a great example of a controlled growth model) and you begin to see an intersection of man and his surroundings collide. Let's not even get into the discussion of natural resources.

Then throw in developers, cheap land, incentives to build or grow from municipalities to states and things get really interesting. Also, it's stunning the speed with which growth takes place as you start to get closer to the present day images of these cities. Without a doubt urban living is hitting an apex of sorts. On the flip side you could also argue that rural living simply was in the way of incredible expansive urban growth.

Whatever the reason  how cities grow, check out the videos below and hit us up in the comment section. Credit to those who took the time to create this great animation and the thinking behind it is at after the videos.

 Los Angeles:

Sao Paolo:


Below you can learn more about How Cities Grow

Initial Credit goes to GIZMODO and the author of their article for tipping us off. From there we head over to the Stern School at NYU where the Urbanization Project that spearheaded and helped fund this project is located. We then end up at the page of Patrick Lamson-Hall (A Research Scholar at NYU) where links to the YouTube videos here are also posted. Finally, after a little more digging, we land at the Lincoln Institutes Atlas of Urban Expansion where you can download data on over 130 cities in PDF form. Sadly, no one has done this work for South Florida or Miami but it would be great if they did. Oh, don't forget the fine folks over in Quito, Ecuador who put the videos together!


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