This is the promo motion graphic for the World Population Special Series brought by National Geographic (the article here and some pictures here). I couldn't agree more with these two conclusive excerpts:
"But one can also draw a different conclusion—that fixating on population numbers is not the best way to confront the future. People packed into slums need help, but the problem that needs solving is poverty and lack of infrastructure, not overpopulation. Giving every woman access to family planning services is a good idea—“the one strategy that can make the biggest difference to women’s lives,” Chandra calls it. But the most aggressive population control program imaginable will not save Bangladesh from sea level rise, Rwanda from another genocide, or all of us from our enormous environmental problems."
"The number of people does matter, of course. But how people consume resources matters a lot more. Some of us leave much bigger footprints than others. The central challenge for the future of people and the planet is how to raise more of us out of poverty—the slum dwellers in Delhi, the subsistence farmers in Rwanda—while reducing the impact each of us has on the planet."
Phil McDermott says: “Excessive primacy may increase economic volatility because the contrast between a rich centre and poor periphery is politically destabilising. One centre dominating financial, human, and intellectual resources may also increase national vulnerability to structural decline.“ One should also note that excessive primacy can also mean excessive concentration of opportunities and public services. And that's a classic starting point for the debate over balanced urban networks and polycentrism.
I got surprised with Iran! and with East Asia & Pacific!
Phil McDermott says: “it is clear that the west is no longer the focus of urbanisation and is unlikely to hold many of the answers to today’s urban growth challenges”. I wouldn't be so sure about the `unlikely to hold many of the answers` part. Anyway, thank you Phil for the post.
Developed by the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, GRUMPv1 is actually a collection of three global data sets (All data sets are available for download):
Population density and population count grids build on SEDAC’s Gridded Population of the World, Version 3 data set (GPWv3), which does not distinguish between urban and rural areas. GRUMPv1 identifies urban areas based in part on observations of lights at night collected by a series of Department of Defense meteorological satellites over several decades.
A geo-referenced database of urban settlements with populations greater than 5,000 persons, which may be downloaded in both tabular and shapefile formats.
An urban-rural “mask” (urban extents grid,) which identifies those areas of the Earth’s land surface that appear to be urbanized based on a combination of night-time lights, and, where there are no lights, settlement points that are buffered according to population size. *GRUMPv1 also includes four ancillary data sets: land/geographic unit area grids, national boundaries, national identifier grids, and coastlines. All grids are provided at a resolution of 30 arc-seconds (~1km), with population estimates normalized to the years 1990, 1995, and 2000.