Sunday, 8 July 2012

How Big is Beijing?

I was in Beijing recently for a conference and was astonished by the scale and intensity of the city. I found it a little difficult to get my head round the sheer size of Beijing so I thought I'd do a little comparison between Beijing and London. 'Beijing' here refers to the municipality of Beijing (i.e. the Province-level city) and 'London' refers to the 32 Boroughs + City of London which make up Greater London. I've illustrated this in the graphic below, which maps Beijing and Greater London at the same scale. As you can see, Beijing is much bigger - both in terms of area and population.

Click here to see the full size version.

Key facts: Beijing is, area-wise, more than ten times bigger than Greater London. It has a population of 19.6 million, compared to about 7.8 million for Greater London. This comparison is of course not really fair because Beijing includes several large rural areas. A better comparison is to look at the Inner Districts of Beijing since these cover an area quite similar to Greater London (1,377 vs 1,572 sq. km. respectively). In this comparison Beijing has 11.7 million people compared to London's 7.8 million. No matter how you look at it, though, Beijing is 'big'! If you're interested in another comparison, take a look at Oliver O'Brien's comparison of Tokyo and London...