As well as the main maps, text and illustrations which form part of the resource, there are also some useful GIS materials.
The site describes itself as follows:
Massive urbanization, accompanied by the rapid expansion of cities and metropolitan regions and the sprawling growth of megacities the world over, is one of the most important transformations of our planet. Much of this explosive growth has been unplanned. Cities in developing countries have been unprepared for absorbing the many millions of the rural poor that are still crowding into informal settlements. These cities are now scheduled to double their urban population in the next thirty years, and possibly triple the land area. And while in industrialized countries the great transformation into an urban society is largely completed, there are growing concerns about continuing low-density sprawl and its deleterious environmental consequences - the effects on carbon emissions, energy use, and the loss of prime agricultural lands. Urban expansion, in short, is now a global concern.
The Atlas of Urban Expansion provides the geographic and quantitative dimensions of urban expansion and its key attributes in cities the world over. The data and images are available for free downloading, for scholars, public officials, planners, those engaged in international development, and concerned citizens. The global empirical evidence presented here is critical for an intelligent discussion of plans and policies to manage urban expansion everywhere.
One particularly important element of the resource is the area of FREE GIS DOWNLOADS.
These are files in various formats, including ESRI Shapefiles which have been zipped up. There are maps and other resources which relate to a total of over 100 cities around the world.
There is also a section of GOOGLE EARTH materials which would be of use to anyone exploring urban areas, with data on over 3000 cities !