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Mapping

Video of the week: The history of urbanization in under four minutes

  • Jun 17, 2016
  • 178 words
  • 1 minutes
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More than 50 per cent of the world’s current population lives in cities and rapid urbanization is expected to continue throughout the mid-21st century. How did we get here?

Created by Max Galka of the urban cartography blog Metrocosm, the animated map above uses data from a new report out of Yale University to plot some 6,000 years of urbanization, starting with the founding of Eridu by the Sumerians in 3700 BC, through the expansion and decline of the Roman Empire, the colonization of North and South America and the explosive worldwide growth triggered by the Industrial Revolution.

Subtitles highlighting major historical events provide context as the world’s cities are born, conquered, re-established and renamed. It’s a fascinating watch that feels a bit like a sped-up version of the popular empire-building game Civilization.

The first Canadian city doesn’t appear until the three-minute mark in the video, around AD 1700. Without skipping ahead, do you know what it was?

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