Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
An interactive platform for urban data geeks or anyone who just wants to look at something pretty.
Duncan Smith, a researcher at the London School of Economics, just launched a spell-binding visualization of population and employment density across British cities that turns otherwise dry government data on urban form into something akin to art.
The platform, called Luminocity, illustrates the pockets of more than a dozen cities where jobs are the most densely clustered, where population density has grown (or declined) in the last decade, and where patterns in employment and and new development reveal the underlying shape of changing cities.
The lightest patches in the above map of London have the highest population density, as of 2011. In this map, the lightest patches have gained the most population density since 2001, while the magenta blocks have lost the most:
Here are similar pictures of the change in population density in central Glasgow and Manchester:
Returning to London, its densest employment nodes, again in white, are clearly visible as of 2011:
And here are the much smaller job hubs in Bristol:
You can tour any of the cities here. Clicking on individual parts of the city in the application will also produce detailed statistics on the change in jobs and population, should you be interested in more than just the lovely pictures.