Atlas of Urban Expansion

The City as a Unit of Analysis and the Universe of Cities

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.


Atlas of Urban Expansion, 2016 edition

Volume 1: Areas and Densities (PDF – 649 Mb)
Volume 2: Blocks and Roads (PDF – 932 Mb)

Methodology

The Global Sample of Cities (PDF)
Understanding and Measuring Urban Expansion (PDF)
Understanding and Measuring Urban Layouts (PDF)

Tables

Areas and Densities CSVXLSX 
Blocks and Roads CSVXLSX
Historical Data for Blocks and Roads CSVXLSX

City Country Areas and Densities Blocks and Roads Historical Data Downloads
Accra Ghana
Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Ahmedabad India
Ahvaz Iran
Alexandria Egypt
Algiers Algeria
Anqing, Anhui China
Antwerp Belgium
Arusha Tanzania
Astrakhan Russia
Auckland New Zealand
Bacolod Philippines
Baghdad Iraq
Baku Azerbaijan
Bamako Mali
Bangkok Thailand
Beijing, Beijing China
Beira Mozambique
Belgaum India
Belgrade Serbia
Belo Horizonte Brazil
Berezniki Russia
Berlin Germany
Bicheng, Chongqing China
Bogota Colombia
Budapest Hungary
Buenos Aires Argentina
Bukhara Uzbekistan
Busan Korea, Rep.
Cabimas Venezuela
Cairo Egypt
Caracas Venezuela
Cebu City Philippines
Changzhi, Hunan China
Changzhou, Jingsu China
Chengdu, Sichuan China
Chengguan, Guizhou China
Cheonan Korea, Rep.
Chicago United States
Cirebon Indonesia
Cleveland United States
Cochabamba Bolivia
Coimbatore India
Cordoba Argentina
Culiacan Mexico
Curitiba Brazil
Dhaka Bangladesh
Dzerzhinsk Russia
Florianopolis Brazil
Fukuoka Japan
Gainesville United States
Gaoyou, Jiangsu China
Gombe Nigeria
Gomel Belarus
Gorgan Iran
Guadalajara Mexico
Guangzhou, Guangdong China
Guatemala City Guatemala
Guixi, Chongqing China
Gwangju Korea, Rep.
Haikou, Hainan China
Halle Germany
Hangzhou, Zhejiang China
Hindupur India
Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Holguin Cuba
Hong Kong, Hong Kong China
Houston United States
Hyderabad India
Ibadan Nigeria
Ilheus Brazil
Ipoh Malaysia
Istanbul Turkey
Jaipur India
Jalna India
Jequie Brazil
Jinan, Shandong China
Jinju Korea, Rep.
Johannesburg South Africa
Kabul Afghanistan
Kaiping, Guangdong China
Kairouan Tunisia
Kampala Uganda
Kanpur India
Karachi Pakistan
Kaunas Lithuania
Kayseri Turkey
Khartoum Sudan
Kigali Rwanda
Killeen United States
Kinshasa Congo, Dem. Rep.
Kolkata India
Kozhikode India
Lagos Nigeria
Lahore Pakistan
Lausanne Switzerland
Le Mans France
Leon Nicaragua
Leshan, Sichuan China
London United Kingdom
Los Angeles United States
Luanda Angola
Lubumbashi Congo, Dem. Rep.
Madrid Spain
Malatya Turkey
Malegaon India
Manchester United Kingdom
Manila Philippines
Marrakesh Morocco
Medan Indonesia
Mexico City Mexico
Milan Italy
Minneapolis-St. Paul United States
Modesto United States
Montreal Canada
Moscow Russia
Mumbai India
Myeik Myanmar
Nakuru Kenya
Ndola Zambia
New York United States
Nikolaev Ukraine
Okayama Japan
Oldenburg Germany
Osaka Japan
Oyo Nigeria
Palembang Indonesia
Palermo Italy
Palmas Brazil
Parbhani India
Parepare Indonesia
Paris France
Pematangsiantar Indonesia
Philadelphia United States
Pingxiang, Jiangxi China
Pokhara Nepal
Port Elizabeth South Africa
Portland, OR United States
Pune India
Pyongyang Korea, Dem. Rep.
Qingdao, Shandong China
Qom Iran
Quito Ecuador
Rajshahi Bangladesh
Raleigh United States
Rawang Malaysia
Reynosa Mexico
Ribeirao Preto Brazil
Riyadh Saudi Arabia
Rovno Ukraine
Saidpur Bangladesh
Saint Petersburg Russia
San Salvador El Salvador
Sana Yemen
Santiago Chile
Sao Paulo Brazil
Seoul Korea, Rep.
Shanghai, Shanghai China
Sheffield United Kingdom
Shenzhen, Guangdong China
Shymkent Kazakhstan
Sialkot Pakistan
Singapore Singapore
Singrauli India
Sitapur India
Springfield, MA United States
Suining, Sichuan China
Suva Fiji
Sydney Australia
Taipei, Taiwan China
Tangshan, Hebei China
Tashkent Uzbekistan
Tebessa Algeria
Tehran Iran
Tel Aviv Israel
Thessaloniki Greece
Tianjin, Tianjin China
Tijuana Mexico
Tokyo Japan
Toledo United States
Tyumen Russia
Ulaanbaatar Mongolia
Valledupar Colombia
Victoria Canada
Vienna Austria
Vijayawada India
Vinh Long Vietnam
Warsaw Poland
Wuhan, Hubei China
Xingping, Shaanxi China
Xucheng, Jiangsu China
Yamaguchi Japan
Yanggu, Shandong China
Yiyang, Hunan China
Yucheng, Zhejiang China
Yulin, Guangxi China
Zhengzhou, Henan China
Zhuji, Zhejiang China
Zunyi, Guizhou China
Zwolle Netherlands