So here's a pretty crazy factoid. Despite the fact that sky-scraping megatowers are taking over Manhattan like there's no tomorrow, the city is actually less dense than it was a century ago. NYU Stern professor Shlomo "Solly" Angel is giving a talk at the New York Public Library in October on the , and a map from his presentation (and his book, Planet Cities) is making the rounds. The short explanation is that even though Manhattan's population remains large, the space in which that number of residents is living is, generally speaking, even larger by comparison. Housing is no longer concentrated in downtown tenements, but instead spread all over the island, with very little devoted to industrial use these days. Plus, even non-wealthy folks reside in bigger homes than they used to, meaning the disparity between number people and amount of housing space isn't as stark as it was in 1910.
· The Rise and Fall of Manhattan's Densities [NYU/NYPL]
· Manhattan is less dense today than it was in 1910 [Vox via NYO]