Over the last weeks of heat-induced desk-work, I took a deeper look at some of the statistics and maps acquired over the last months. It has been a pain to get them, and I am still hunting for more - but I now have enough to get started. As a teaser, I thus got my act together and set TileMill in motion to tell you a first spatial story about Lucknow: where do people live (including me)? And where are all the women (and men)? This first map shows ward-wise population density based on 2001 census data1 (a larger version is available here):

The darker a ward appears, the more people per km² live there (hover over an area to get all the details). Apart from wards, the map features river Gomti, which separates old Lucknow (to the west) from new Lucknow (to the east), and which frequently comes up in my conversations as a mental as much as physical divider of the city. Here, you can see how the older parts of town (both Chowk in the north and Aminabad in the south) are much more densely populated than the newer parts. And finally, you see a bright red dot - this is roughly were I live, ideally situated at the border between both worlds (though, to be fair, Pir Jaleel ward in our backyard - while also middle-class and less congested - is primarily that light a shade because it houses the wide lush greens of the Residency). Finally, please zoom out for a minute and admire the very light grey outer silhouette: this is what showed up in 2002/03 as an "urban agglomerate" on the NASA MODIS satellites. Which basically demonstrates that Lucknow uncontrollably sprawls towards the north and north-east (and a bit towards the west), areas in which city-planning and ward delineation cannot hold pace with urban expansion. At least that's what I suspect - it will be very interesting to test this hypothesis once I get hold of fresh data...

Apart from population density, there is one more story I want to tell today, for which I addded gender to the calculation (larger version). Apologies to all fellow feminists for making it pink and sky-blue - I could not resist the temptation:

Overall, 47% of Lucknow's population in 2001 were women and 53% men (owing partly to its status as a male labor migration hub - and partly to the sad story of sex-selectve abortion and neglect of girl childs in India in general and in Uttar Pradesh in particular). In the map above, I therefore colored all wards with less than 47% women in blue and those words with more in pink. The intensity of either color reflects how strong this ward's gender balance deviates from Lucknow's average - while the light-dark continuum continues to signify population density.2 Several interesting observations can be made here. Firstly, men concentrate in two areas: heavily in Lucknow Cantt (no wonder, all military there) - and less heavily in the outskirts (where, as I wrote before, labour migrants tend to arrive and settle - which are either unmarried or left their wifes behind back home). Right north of the river (to the north-east of my house) is the University area, where men and women seem to live rather segregated: men perhaps in Colvin Taluqdar's College and in the Islamic seminary of the Nadwa-tul-Ulema - and women in the famous Isabella Thoburn College, one of the first womens' colleges in India. Women also concentrate around the Legislative Assembly (no clue why - the impact of Mayawati perhaps?) and generally in the older parts of town. Which are frequently said to hold the key to Lucknowi identity - women as signifier of community once more? The fact that Husainabad (around the river), where the Nawabs - self-styled pinnacles of Tehzeeb - reside is the pinkest of them all might well support this hunch... (finally, it could also be a mere statistical artefact - if both military and migrants weigh in as heavily male, some wards elsewhere by default will show up as relatively more female - anybody an idea how to check for this?)

I will leave it at that - and encourage those of you familiar with Lucknow to post further observations below in the comments. In the meantime, I will continue my hunt for usable and adequate data (dealing with issues such as these or those in addition to the usual ones) and will post more maps soon - for instance on elections, influential Ulema and Muslim life, or density of kites in the sky (although that might really be too hard to measure - let's see).

  • 1. 2011 data is not available yet at that level of detail, and also maps on a slightly different set of wards post-delimitation; the latter is also true for 1991. I will post a diachronic perspective once I sorted these issues out
  • 2. Yes, I know that human eyes are bad at differentiating brightness from intensity - but for the point of demonstration I left it at that...