Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The city from the air

Some modern city planners have been jokingly criticized for designing urban spaces in a way that the city is visually appealing from an airplane.

Okay, maybe only half-jokingly. Heck, Brasília was planned to look like an airplane from an airplane;

However, centrally planned cities (here are some more) have been built in this way since the days before airplanes;

Satellite views are an easy way to tell how a city is built-- people-focused or car-focused.

Compare the above view of central Atlanta with this view of Seville at the same scale:

Or people-focused Nagasaki;

With car-focused Seattle;

Of course, the difference between these examples lies in their contrasting ratios of building footprint to street coverage.
Let's get on the ground with Google streetview with our two most recent examples. 
Try determining which city is which.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

There's nothing wrong with cars in the city, but problems arise when cities are built for the car. You can see it from space.

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