An Interactive Map Of Manhattan’s Mega Urban Expansion

From farmland to metropolis, all inside your browser.

It’s hard to believe that, just 200 years ago, Manhattan was largely farmland. Today, it’s one of the densest areas in the world.


Urbanlayers puts this rapid expansion into perspective. It’s a sharply rendered, interactive map by Morphocode that can squeeze hundreds of years of rapid urban development into a timeline slider. By scrubbing your way through a timeline, you can watch as the first red blip of the Morris–Jumel Mansion appears in 1765–one of the oldest buildings in Manhattan–and is slowly joined by more and more blips that spread across the island like a contagion. And because the map is vector-based, you can zoom all the way from a bird’s-eye view of the city down to an individual building, like some sort of omniscient, urban planning god. Or any random dude with Google Maps, I guess.

Try it here.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.