New iPad App: Urban World

The McKinsey Global Institute just released a fascinating new iPad app, Urban World. Urban World provides users with a visually engaging way to explore urbanization for over 2,600 cities. You can read more about the project in detail right here.

The app also places urbanization in a historical context, using a view from space of the global nighttime distribution of light as a proxy for the global distribution of economic activity. Users can visualize the world’s shifting center of economic gravity during the past two millennia, to 2025. The app serves a purpose similar to a 16th-century map—a rough but helpful tool to help navigate the evolving urban world.


The above graphic compares the entire population of Europe to the population of China.


The graphic above shows that in 2010 the GDP of Los Angeles exceeded that of the entire country of Indonesia.





Courtney is the founder of Design Work Life and Seamless Creative, a small design studio she runs with her husband Brian. She now splits her time between developing brand identities for small businesses and soaking up (and passing along) as much inspiration as she possibly can.

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