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A NEW HISTORY

Watch 6,000 years of urbanization taking over the world

By Michael Tabb

If the goal of studying history is to apply past knowledge to modern problems, there’s (at least) one problem: the record of human civilization is a disorganized mess.

Some scientists are trying to aggregate and sort through the jumble of information. Researchers at Yale University have digitized 6,000 years of city records. The result offers a fascinating look at the growth of cities and urban areas over the years, and offers context to present-day urbanization. And if we can learn more about the world’s cities—where they came from and how they have changed—we might uncover some solutions to the issues that affect them.