Here’s an interesting fact for you: most of the world’s population lives in cities and will continue to do so in to the future.

According to Reuters, “In 2010, a total of 80.7 percent of Americans lived in urban areas, up from 79 percent in 2000. Conversely, 19.3 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas in 2010, down from 21 percent in 2000.”

That makes it incredibly likely that you are reading this article right now from one of those wonderful, crowded, bustling cities. As such, this week we are proud to present a data visualization tribute to city folk!

Nothing New

Our first visualization comes to us from the census bureau, one of the best places to not only get information for visualizations but to find interesting visual analyses.

What we find perhaps most interesting about census data is that in the United States they have  been in the business of collecting raw data for many, many years. This gives them the unique opportunity to track changes over immense periods of time.

In this case, they used their longevity to notice how, even in a time of aggressive expansion, large cities started cropping up all over the country.

Spread of cities data visualization
Turns out cities were always popular

What we love about this data visualization is how clearly you can track the westward movement of early citizens and see large cities eventually move further and further away from the eastern seaboard.

It’s also comforting to know that human beings have been choosing to live in large cities even when there was still plenty of space to roam.

Jolly Old London

And it’s not just the population of cities that have grown. The cities themselves, naturally, had to expand to accommodate the new influx of people. Take the next visualization for example. It comes toUS  from Emu Analytics and shows in a dynamic, colorful way which buildings will give you the best views of London.

London data visualization
The old town never looked so good

If you know anything about VisualCue by now you’ll recognize that when it comes to data visualization, we love colors, and especially colors that help someone quickly decode the data. In the above visualization of London it was intuitive, based on the colors that the creators used, exactly where the tall and short buildings of the city were located.

The Perks

Sure, they can be crowded and noisy, but living in a city doesn’t have to be all bad. One of the biggest advantages we can think of is easy access to all sorts of opportunities for work and play. This final visualization, Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of New York City and Tokyo from Foursquare on Vimeo, dynamically shows not only what the hottest spots are in New York and Tokyo but also tracks the work and leisure cycles of thousands of viewers.

We could watch that video all day. It’s especially interesting seeing gradual changes in the data an trying to figure out “what caused the change?” and then looking for other, correlating metrics. In this case, we noticed that as soon as work gets out at 5:00 both cities know how to have a good time: the food, arts and entertainment check-ins grow to dominate the map, indicating a vibrant nightlife for the inhabitants.

Whether you prefer to live in a buzzing metropolis or the quiet of the country, we hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time,

The VisualCrew