Global Historical Urbanization Database

Development of a Global Historical Urbanization Database

Since the beginning of agriculture and sedentary lifestyles, urbanization has been a consequence of human civilization. Much research has been done on archaeological sites of past cities but no global compilation of these urban areas and how their populations changed with time has yet been published. The main goal of this project is to compile population estimates through time for urban areas throughout the world, starting with the first cities in southwest Asia, China, and India roughly 8000 years ago and extending up to the megacities of the present. Our database is geo-referenced and combines data from many sources, including expert estimates, census data and data from archaeological studies. We include cities that are no longer in existence, as well as extant cities that have endured for thousands of years and new urban areas. Cities have a unique impact on the environment. We stimulate the area that each city occupies given its population and period in history as well as the agricultural area necessary to nourish each city’s inhabitants.