Megacity London: ever growing, ever more unequal?

What is it about London? Population growth is slowing across most of Europe – people are having fewer children and, it could be argued, steps are being taken to try to reduce social inequalities. But London is unusual. London continues growing, and London is becoming more youthful. The middle aged and those who are poor, but not desperately poor, are being squeezed out. Graduates from the rest of Britain and the rest of the world flow in ever greater numbers and require ever higher degrees of optimism. Many fail to achieve their aspirations. Above them a few are becoming ever richer. Below them, as private rents and social housing becomes too expensive for huge numbers of lowly paid families and many leave, a new poor may be growing, less well documented, less well protected, with even less to lose.
With a population of currently 8.2 million (according to the 2011 Census), London is not only unique for one of the old world’s megacities by being projected to continue rising significantly in population size over the forthcoming decades, but also by its specific demographic structure. Like many large cities, London has a large share of people in the younger age groups – over 20% in the cohorts from 25-34 – but also a significant share of the youngest with around 7% of its population being 0 to 4 years old. Here is a population pyramid of London compiled from the 2011 Census data that has been released recently:Population Pyramid of London 2011 Continue reading

Mapping the global village

Changing times was the title of a session at this year’s Annual Symposium of the British Cartographic Society (not to be confused with the Society of Cartographers which will have its annual conference in September).
My contribution as a speaker in this session was titled Changing views of a changing planet. In the presentation I took a look at how changes in data and technology can provide alternative ways of mapping a globalised world, and mapping cities as the hotspots of globalisation. Continue reading

Urban development in the city of Cologne (Köln)

Mapping Cologne
In a previous post on this website I looked at urban mapping showing population changes in London. This time I dug up a different example for mapping cities from my map archive: The German city of Cologne (Köln) is one of Germany’s largest cities with a total population of approximately 1 million people. It its over 2000 years lasting history, its urban landscape changed considerably, and since the Prussian times in the 19th century fairly good mapping records cover the modern land use change from the pre-industrialised to the post-modern city. In a GIS mapping project some years ago, these changes have been digitized in full detail from some major topographic maps, covering the changes in the urban land use since 1850 (see bottom image of this page for the legend to this animation):

Map animation of the Land Use Change in the German city of Cologne / Köln

Continue reading