Urbanization in East Asia

visualizing.org urbanization challenge winner

Project description

March 2015


Visualizing Urban Expansion Challenge


R, D3.js



My second attempt at a data visualization competition, this was created for the “Visualizing Urban Expansion Challenge” organized by the World Bank and Visualizing.org. The data contained growth in absolute numbers of the urban population and urban land for the 869 urban areas in East Asia that had at least 100,000 inhabitants in 2010

The goal was to visualize the dataset so policy makers would be motivated to invest more money in research into urbanization (at least that is how I understood it). I had a hard time coming up with an interesting design and brainstormed with colleagues about ideas. In essence the data contained only two types of dimensions; population and urban land. Due to cities being defined differently from the standard, it was not really possible to connect more external data to the cities. Thus how do you get your point across that urbanization is something that can make or break your economic growth and general welfare to local policy makers with just numbers on population and urban land?

In the end I decided that a more narrative approach, showing one angle of the data, explain the impact and move on to another visualization of the same data which shows something new again, was going to be the main concept. However, I still wanted the viewer to have the freedom to navigate the data, thus I combined the narrative with so-called interactive “views”


On March 31st I found out that I actually won! See the post about this and runners up here. Extremely happy and just couldn’t resist adding the Visualizing.org challenge cup icon to the top :)

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