Beijing: In or Out

Beijing: In or Out

Organisation: Caixin Media Company Limited (China)

Publication Date: 04/06/2017



Beijing, the political and cultural center of China, has been experiencing the so-called “megacity problem” for many years. Population explosion is one of the worst and the cause of many other problems: air pollution, rocketing housing price, traffic jam, etc. Therefore, the government and scholars have made a five-year plan to control total population as well as redistributing urban residence. For the 21 million Beijing residences, and more considering moving in, the regulation might cast great influence to their life and work and it’s impossible to understand the population problem without analyzing the cause and scale of it. The project “Beijing: In or Out” is trying to offer them useful information and insights on this issue. It analyzes the population composition of Beijing in two scales: time and geographical. With the data presented, readers would get a better understanding of how fast the population is growing, in which part of Beijing, and more importantly, why. By digging into historic data and calculating future data according to the government’s population control plan, we found the relationship between population, location and average income, which explains why the six central districts are attractive but lack of latent development. One of the goals of this project is to present data and facts, which is the unequal development between the six central districts and other districts. In addition, a more important goal is to explain the government’s five-year plan to the public in an interactive and easy-to-understand way to show future trend, opportunities, and possible solutions to the problem. This project is under Caixin’s data news column and it’s non-profit.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Data analyze: There are hundreds of report/news articles/infographics discussing the issue of population booming. Most of them focus on only one dimension (time or location), very few combine both time and space like we do. And to take a step further, we added a third dimension: average income. By cross-analyzing the data we offer better understanding of the real situation. And with this knowledge the residence can make better decision of moving it or out of Beijing (or the urban districts). Data visualization: We design four interactive animated charts, and all of them are designed in innovative way that they are interesting to read. For example, to present the growth of population in 35 years in one chart, not only showing the total amount of population, but also the growth rates, we used “speed” as a key dimension to show the rapid change of population growth intuitively, which make this chart stand out from other bar-chart-like infographics. Another example is the third chart, a cartogram of land area, GDP and population of Beijing, which clearly shows the inequality among districts. The impact of the project is the power of data visualization: it present the data people think they are familiar in a way that’s refreshing. The readers more or less had the idea that the six central districts are more developed than the others but by how much? They didn’t know until they see the chart. Many of the readers are astonished to see the cartogram transforming from area to population, and the city they thought they know well looks different and interesting to them now.

Technologies used for this project:

We use HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and d3.js for programming the website and all infographics. The website is also adapted to mobile device.
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