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The distribution of people and the dimension of place: methodologies to improve the global estimation of urban extents

Deborah Balk, Columbia University
Francesca Pozzi, Columbia University
Gregory Yetman, Columbia University
Uwe Deichmann, World Bank Group
Andrew Nelson, University of Leeds

What is known about the urban world is largely derived from local knowledge. This paper showcases substantial efforts at new data integration with existing technologies to develop a new suite of global datasets on urban population and extents. These new databases far surpass past efforts to construct a systematic global database of urban areas by combining census and satellite data and methods of analysis, in an integrated geospatial framework. The resulting data allow for inquiry into analysis urban issues and population by environmental and other ecological characteristics in novel ways. This paper focuses on the methodologies employed to construct these new datasets. Summary results regarding population distribution at continent- and global-levels are also given, , as well as suggestions for future research.

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Presented in Session 137: Urbanisation, environment and development