Join us
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) welcome sign

Become a member and discover where geography can take you.

Join us
A view of the Bhola settlement from above

This podcast and video investigates patterns of urban growth and how settlements in cities are changing.

Key questions

  • What is urban growth?

  • Where is it happening most in the world?

  • What are the issues associated with urban growth?

Key ideas

  • By 2050 it is estimated that nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, with 5.2 billion urban residents anticipated in Asia and Africa. Most of this growth will take place in medium-sized cities (cities with a population of 1-5 million residents).

  • These movements are some of the most important but least studied migration patterns across the globe. How will these cities change as a result, and how do geographers map this change?

  • The Migrants on the margins research team worked with the Satellite Applications Catapult to find earth observation data that showed how urban space and settlements in the four cities had changed over time. 

Listen to Earth Observation Specialist Terri Freemantle in our Ask the Geographer podcast


File nameFiles

File type



Ask the Geographer - Mapping urban change with Terri Freemantle


927 KB

The densification of Hargeisa


6 MB

The densification of Hargeisa worksheet


6 MB

Download all files