Growth of cities in developing world

This is a fascinating little tool, showing overlays of the the growth charts of the largest cities in the world.

590 Cities Charted:  Impure Blog

As Yadji explained in his video, people are leaving the backwaters of the developing world and heading to the city.   I've been writing a lot this year on the "pixelization" of wealth distribution, and how clumsy the "rich vs. poor" country debate has become.

The changing world means that companies like Sony, RIM (Blackberry), HP/Compaq, and Dell are receding, just as RCA, Magnavox, and Polaroid disappeared over the past decades.   But when I read that the "electronics industry" is in decline, I laugh.   That's like saying "basketball is in decline" because Larry Bird or Michael Jordan are unable to compete on the court. 

New names, like HTC, Foxconn, Wistron are behind the growth of some of these urban charts.  If you look at a city that is "hockey-stick" growth, like Shenzhen, you will find no IBM, Curtis Mathis, or Kodak factories there.  But whether it's the changing names and skin color on your favorite professional sports team, or the factory employees making your next IPad, change is not "decline".

I find it fascinating that as the average wealth and per capita income in the world rises at the fastest rate in history, that as technology and productivity and lifespans increase, that the Western media has us all believing that the world economy is crashing and we are in some kind of depression or decline.  Skyscrapers are getting taller.

My 3 kids are more likely today to marry someone from overseas, of a different language and nationality, than my grandparents were.   I married "off continent" and it has been splendid.   If Apple wants most of their product to be made by Foxconn in China, and that causes Chinese to be less "starving and diseased" than they were described when I was growing up, I'm willing to buy a cheaper car or eat out less.  Africans are moving from the mountainsides and savannah to the cities, Chinese are moving from the rural West to the Urban East, and Indonesia is growing skyscrapers on viagra.  The average wealth per capita is growing faster than it has ever grown, and our task is to shepherd (steward) natural resources and habitats so that what is good for mankind doesn't become bad for every other species save rats and houseflies.

The stack flow above depicts the 590 most populated cities sorted column by column by their population between 1950 and 2010, in 5 year intervals, and projected for 2015,2020,2025. You can rollover shapes in order to highlight individual cities and see how their population changed through time compared to the others. Each column is normalized to the total population in all surveyed cities, so what you can see for each city at each year is its position among the other cities and their population in terms of proportion. The data covers cities and other urban areas with more than 750,000 people. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar changed his name from Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. when I was a boy, as Cassius Clay had changed his name to Muhammed Ali.  Multi-culturalism is here to stay.

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