Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Urbanization in England & Wales


The Urban Growth Explorer visualizes the huge urbanization of England & Wales in the last 150 years. The map overlays modern UK town and city boundaries on top of an 1885 Ordnance Survey map to visualize how Britain's towns and cities have grown since the mid-19th century.

Before industrialization England & Wales were both largely rural countries. In 1801 the proportion of the population living in towns and cities with more than 20,000 people was 17%. In 1891 that proportion had risen to 54%. This shift from a largely rural population to an urban population led to the huge growth in the size of towns and cities. For example, in 1717 the city of Manchester had a population of 10,000. By 1911 it had grown to 2.3 million.

Using the Urban Growth Explorer you can search for a town or city in England & Wales and view (where available) a 2015 town boundary overlaid on top of a map of the location from 1885. If no modern boundary is available for your town you can switch to the side-by-side view to compare the 1885 map with the modern aerial view of your town.


You can also explore the UK's shift from a predominately rural to urban country in Populations Past. In the second half of the 19th Century Great Britain went through a process of demographic transition as the industrial revolution fundamentally changed the way that people lived.

The University of Cambridge's Populations Past is an interactive atlas of Victorian and Edwardian England & Wales. The map allows you to explore some of the huge social and geographical changes which took place in England & Wales during the second half of the 19th century and the effect that those changes had on the population.

The map includes a number of different demographic measures and socio-economic indicators which allow you to explore for yourself the effect of the demographic transition over time and between different locations. The side-by-side view uses two different maps to help visualize the effects of the demographic transition on locations throughout England & Wales over time.
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