population density Archives - State of the Planet

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Density, Equity, and the History of Epidemics in New York City

The city’s economic success depends on its density. But density also allows contagious diseases to spread. Looking at how the city has managed this conflict in the past could shed light on what the future holds.

by Richard Plunz and Andrés Álvarez-Dávila |June 30, 2020
Figure of two images. The one of the left shows 2015 estimates of population density of a coastal region in Kenya from CIESIN’s Gridded Population of the World, version 4 (GPWv4), which is based on census data. On the right, New Facebook estimates of population density in the same coastal region in Kenya. This allocation, which is derived from processing of third party satellite imagery and incorporates GPWv4, provides a higher resolution map of population distribution.

Working with Facebook to Create Better Population Maps

Knowing how settlements are distributed across the landscape—e.g., in clusters, along roads or waterways, or scattered widely—has important implications for designing infrastructure, improving access, and promoting sustainability.