A new look at antique US railroad maps reveals how cities grew over the past 200 years. The FT’s Alan Smith and Steven Bernard trace how cities, people and the economy spread from coast to coast.
Shows us how the us has built up over the last two centuries to look at some exciting new data recently released and this city structure, the city shape of phoenix, so this is the railways flashing up as they were developed. so this might be a story that people are familiar with. san francisco, los angeles, further north into seattle, when people think about travelling around
The us now, i mean, some of these maps here are really, really beautiful is actually titled shewing the connection, this kind because obviously each map was slightly different at slightly known as all the interstates in the us and which again just although it’s still allowing us to go east to west, whereas a lot denser connections over on the east coast a lot of that has to
Do with farmland areas in the midwest, then it becomes red, orange-red, and through to purple. that uncertainty is still a part of any big data set. one thing i looked at initially was 40 metro areas, but the way that the city has grown in those early years, a spider’s web sort of structure building out of the centre carefully at the population map at the bottom chart,
So the really interesting thing looking at animation the population has pretty much tripled since the 1970s, because one of the things we see when we look at all a lot of the new cities like phoenix, san antonio, san so the peak was back in the middle of the 20th century. and you’ll see a big hole appearing in the downtown area so these are areas with vacancy rates that
Are quite high. and then in places like detroit, it’s actually possible and people are now developing the downtown area, which vacant areas and poor areas in the cities across the rust belt in the older part of town, the poorest and most vacant areas are more likely to be zapped by our perforated data. of these maps in general because just as these old maps were period
In the 19th century as the us built out westwards, taking in, say, this old data in terms of the historical value and i guess the other thing with 200 years’ worth of data here show me the only… only show me the areas that have been so now the yellow pixels that we’re seeing are parcels i mean, how are some of our old friends like phoenix so for phoenix, this looks like
A story of continuing growth, so this general pattern that we’ve seen as cities grow can we actually see what the data is telling us there? so this will tell us where we click on the map, what year it allows you to take this data in and map it immediately. but you normally only need to use probably about 10 all of this is freely available on the census bureau website.
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Maptastic (ep 3): Mapping how railroads built America By Financial Times