The Weight of Cities: Urbanization Effects on Earth's Subsurface
Across the world, people increasingly choose to live in cities. By 2050, 70% of Earth's population will live in large urban areas. Upon considering a large city, questions arise such as, how much does that weigh? What are its effects on the landscape? Does it cause measurable subsidence? Here I calculate the weight of San Francisco Bay region urbanization, where 7.75 million people live at, or near the coast. It is difficult to account for everything that is in a city. Most of the weight is buildings and their contents, which allows the use of base outline and height data to approximate their mass, which is cumulatively 1.6·1012 kg.