6,000 Years of Urbanization in Just 3 Minutes
Last month, animator Max Galka uploaded a time-lapse video to his blog, Metrocosm, documenting the history of urbanization.
Starting in 3700 BC, the very first name to pop up is the ancient Sumerian city of Eridu, still considered to be the oldest city in the world. And as the video winds through time, big historical changes such as the invention of the first wheeled vehicle in 3200 BC was highlighted.
Galka explained the difficulties he encountered in pinpointing urbanization prior to the mid-20th century.
Urbanization didn’t begin in the 1960’s. But until recently, tracking its history much further back than that was a challenging task. The most comprehensive collection of urban population data available, U.N. World urbanization prospects, goes back only to 1950. But thanks to a report released last week by a team of Yale researchers, it’s now possible to analyze the history of cities over a much longer time frame. The researchers compiled the data by digitizing, geocoding, and standardizing information from past research published about historical urban populations. The result is a clean, accessible dataset of cities, their locations, and their populations over time, going as far back as 3700 B.C.