Monday, July 01, 2019

Comparing Los Angeles to Madrid

The Atlas of Urban Expansion has analyzed the development of 200 cities across the world. This analysis examined the size of cities, their population densities and the proportion of built-up and open spaces in each city. The individual results page for each of the analyzed 200 global cities provides a fascinating insight into the urban composition of cities around the globe. If you select to view an individual city's results page you can view a number of maps and graphs visualizing the city's population and its composition.

For example, the image above shows which areas of Los Angeles are built-up (blue), rural open space (green) and urban open space (yellow). The built-up area makes up 72% of Los Angeles. Only 22% of L.A. is urbanized open space. We can compare this urban composition to any of the other 200 cities around the world. For example (to pick a European city at random) Madrid is 52% built-up and has 34% of urbanized open space.

As well as having more open spaces Madrid manages to pack more people into its built-up areas. In 2010 the population density in the built-up areas of Madrid was 94 people per hectare. In comparison in 2014 the population density in the built-up area of Los Angeles was a much smaller 33 people per hectare. This huge difference in population density is presumably a result of the U.S.'s love of detached single-family homes as opposed to apartment living.

We can also break-down the composition of the built-up areas in each city to show how much of these areas are dedicated to roads. In Madrid 29% of the built-up area consists of road (which is quite high for Europe - where the average is around 20%). In Los Angeles 26% of the built-up area consists of roads.

If you are interested in how Los Angeles (or any other of the 200 featured cities) compares to cities in other regions of the globe then you can select to view any of the other cities on the Atlas of Urban Expansion.

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