Physical Development of Cities

Mapping of the physical development of urban areas started in the United States in the 30ies with studies like The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighborhoods in American Cities by Homer Hoyt of 1939 in which the author analyzes the Form of City Growth in various American Cities.

In the The Age of Megacities project ESRI the leading producer of Geographic Information Systems (ArcGIS) has mapped the expansion of most of the major cities in the world from 1900 to present days in 4 – 5 intervals: Tokyo, Shanhai, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Cairo, Beijing, Lagos, Los Angeles, Paris and London.


  Paris 1900 – 1928 – 1955 – 1979, ©

physical expansion of individual cities

We found examples of mapping the physical expansion of individual cities in different formats from various sources for:

Munich’s physical development from 1158 to 2000

  © City of Munich, Department of Urban Planning and Building Control / studio karonga

For these maps we used ESRI’s ArcGIS application while the data came from a unique source: a series of maps drawn by cartographer Max Megele showing the evolution of Munich’s urban fabric in intervals of 25 years.