The heart of Allan Jacobs’ classic book on street-level urban form and design, Great Streets, features dozens of hand-drawn figure-ground diagrams in the style of Nolli maps. Each depicts one square mile of a city’s street network. Drawing these cities at the same scale provides a revealing spatial objectivity in visually comparing their street networks and urban forms.
We can recreate these visualizations automatically with Python and the OSMnx package, which I developed as part of my dissertation. With OSMnx we can download a street network from OpenStreetMap for anywhere in the world in just one line of code. Here are the square-mile diagrams of Portland, San Francisco, Irvine, and Rome created and plotted automatically by OSMnx:
Continue reading Square-Mile Street Network Visualization
Edward Lorenz, the father of chaos theory, once described chaos as “when the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.”
Lorenz first discovered chaos by accident while developing a simple mathematical model of atmospheric convection, using three ordinary differential equations. He found that nearly indistinguishable initial conditions could produce completely divergent outcomes, rendering weather prediction impossible beyond a time horizon of about a fortnight.
Continue reading Animating the Lorenz Attractor with Python
I am presenting at the 2015 Conference on Complex Systems tomorrow in Tempe, Arizona. My paper is on methods for assessing the complexity of urban design. If you’re attending the conference, come on by!
Here’s the abstract:
Continue reading Urban Design and Complexity