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Stats and the city

2 September 2013
by Brian Keeley
Wikimedia says this is a Utopia

Wikimedia says this is a Utopia

We can’t decide if it sounds like David Beckham’s new range of men’s accessories or a handy fold-up bicycle. In fact, the Metropolitan Explorer is neither. It’s actually a nifty tool from the OECD that lets you explore statistics for 268 metropolitan areas (that’s basically cities and their surroundings) in OECD countries.

It’s remarkable what you can discover. For instance, if you’re looking to live somewhere with plenty of room to swing a cat, try Las Vegas in the U.S. state of Nevada, the OECD’s least-crowded metro area. The average person there has almost 170 times more elbow room than someone in busy Changwon in Korea.

Or perhaps you’d prefer to live surrounded by well-off neighbours? In that case, try Edmonton in Canada, where the per capita GDP of $61,000 is close to double the Canadian average and more than six times higher than Mexico’s Tuxtla Gutiérrez at the other end of the scale.

Urban sprawl

Feeling breathless? Avoid Milan in Italy, the metro area with the worst air pollution in the OECD, and head instead for the clean, coastal breezes of Concepción in Chile.

The Metropolitan Explorer is just one of a range of tools – covering everything from aid to tax – at the OECD Data Lab. As the title suggests, all these tools are works-in-progress and will be ­­developed further based on responses from users like you. So, click, explore, send your comments.

Useful links

OECD work on measuring metropolitan areas

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