At the beginning of the 21st Century, smart cities, information, and big data are becoming increasingly critical for the success of urban development. Typically, smart city initiatives focus on real-time information and future innovations. Three urban researchers took a different approach. They applied big data to the historic evolution of cities since the neolithic revolution 6,000 years ago. Meredith Reba, Femke Reitsma, and Karen C. Seto, from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and the Department of Geography at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, recorded, analyzed and visualized global, city level population data. The outstanding result is an improved understanding of long-term, historical, and contemporary urbanization trends and patterns.