New Urban Centres Database sets new standards for information on cities at global scale

EU Science Hub: “Data analysis highlights very diverse development patterns and inequalities across cities and world regions.

Building on the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL), the new database provides more detailed information on the cities’ location and size as well as characteristics such as greenness, night time light emission, population size, the built-up areas exposed to natural hazards, and travel time to the capital city.

For several of these attributes, the database contains information recorded over time, dating as far back as 1975. 

Responding to a lack of consistent data, or data only limited to large cities, the Urban Centre Database now makes it possible to map, classify and count all human settlements in the world in a standardised way.

An analysis of the data reveals very different development patterns in the different parts of the world.

“The data shows that in the low-income countries, high population growth has resulted only into moderate increases in the built-up areas, while in the high-income countries, moderate population growth has resulted into very big increases in the built-up areas. In practice, cities have grown more in size in richer countries, with respect to poorer countries where the populations are growing faster”, said JRC researcher Thomas Kemper.

According to JRC scientists, around 75% of the global population now live in cities, towns or suburbs….

The City Centres Database provides new open data supporting the monitoring of UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN’s New Urban Agenda and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The main findings based on the Urban Centre Database are summarised in a new edition of the Atlas of the Human Planet, published together with the database….(More)”.