The Rise and Fall of Manhattan’s Densities 1800-2010

I recently watched something quite interesting, and I think our readers will enjoy it:

Check out this brief video tracking, in mesmerizing animation, neighborhood population density on Manhattan island from 1800 through 2010.

According to Patrick Lamson-Hall and Shlomo Angel, who produced the study and corresponding video for NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, using data from historical maps, insurance maps, aerial photographs and census statistics, Manhattan hit peak population density in 1910, “as new construction failed to keep pace with the influx of immigrants, while transportation technology that could spread people out was either unaffordable or lagged behind.”  In that year, there were, on average, 600 persons per hectare (pph) on Manhattan, with the Lower East Side (and its immigrant-packed tenements) hitting approximately 1,500 pph.  By way of comparison, Manhattan is currently at approximately 350 pph, which is 40% below its peak after a steady rise since a 1980 low.

The full report can be found here (PDF).

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