This chart might break your brain.

Warning: This chart might break your brain.

Barcelona design concern Bestiario has compiled the population growth data for 590 cities and crammed it all into one intensely jazzy visualization. The timeline begins on the left side in 1950 and is projected forward until 2025, with each column representing a five-year period. (The data comes from mapmaker Nordpil.) You can highlight a city's growth by clicking on its color-coded line. They are stacked in order of population size, with Tokyo on top and... I don't know what's at the bottom, as my mouse can't click that precisely. Łódź, maybe?

If you're wondering what gives this chart its unique kick, it's probably the computer language, Impure, which Bestiario created specifically to spawn this kind of project. Here are a couple notes about the visualization from the Impure Blog:

"It’s crazy that if you take the 590 most populated cities you don’t reach the half of the urban population of the world.... That’s because the number of cities grows exponentially when the number of inhabitants decrease linearly....

"I found particularly insightful how Africa and Europe display mirrored shapes, they seem to be living different times in History. It’s quite evident the loss of population primacy of the big European cities since the end of the second war, when a lot of things happened (quick economic growth, european colonies independence, creation of the European Union, post-industrial social crisis)."

The whole Impure post contains many more wonderful charts – it's dense but well worth a read. (H/t to Graphic Sociology)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    The History of Sears Predicts Nearly Everything Amazon Is Doing

    One hundred years ago, a retail giant that shipped millions of products by mail moved swiftly into the brick-and-mortar business, changing it forever. Is that happening again?

  2. Transportation

    An App For Democratizing Street Design

    So far, tech companies have been determining how driverless cars will fit into the grid. ReStreet invites you to weigh in.

  3. POV

    Why the Future Looks Like Pittsburgh

    The city’s rise as a global innovation city reflects decades of investment in emerging technology, a new Brookings report says.

  4. Subway tracks are pictured in Copenhagen.
    Environment

    A Challenge to Copenhagen's Model of Development

    A battle over a city park highlights a flaw in the city’s much-praised approach to balancing its books.

  5. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.