Largest database of cities illuminates increasing urbanization

The world’s largest data platform on cities, launched by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, reveals the planet is even more urbanized than we thought.

With every high density area of at least 50,000 inhabitants covered, the city centres database shows growth in population and built-up areas over the past 40 years. Environmental factors tracked include:

  • ‘Greenness’: the estimated amount of healthy vegetation in the city centre
  • Soil sealing: the covering of the soil surface with materials like concrete and stone, as a result of new buildings, roads and other public and private spaces
  • Air pollution: the level of polluting particles such as PM2.5 in the air
    Vicinity to protected areas: the percentage of natural protected space within 30 km distance from the city centre’s border
  • Disaster risk-related exposure of population and buildings in low lying areas and on steep slopes.

The data is free to access and open to everyone. It applies big data analytics and a global, people-based definition of cities, providing support to monitor global urbanisation and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Source: World’s biggest city database shines light on our increasingly urbanized planet

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