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Is it feasible to map urban ecology?

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Matt Delaney

on 12 December 2013

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Transcript of Is it feasible to map urban ecology?

Mapping Metropolitans
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
And the Trend Continues...
Homer Hoyt's

The Truth of the Matter
Best of a Bad Situation
Enter Hypercities
- Program that provides past maps of modern cities and re-visualizes metropolis' through 3-D technology
- Interesting concept, but limited scope by researchers (only 27 cities mapped out WORLDWIDE) ruins high potential for project, however one positive from using Hypercities was discovery of...
The Feasibility of Urban Ecological Diagrams
What is Urban Ecology?
"Natural" study of urban environment
Early Models of Urban Land Use
Ebenezer Howard's
Three Magnets
-Divided society into three sections-- Town (urban life), Country (rural life), and Town-Country (modern day suburb)
-Innaccurate/unscientific method of evaluation since descriptors reflect Howard's opinion and not concrete evidence; plus very prevalent bias towards the section preferred most by people for a sceintific study

Richard Burgess'
Concentric Zone Model
-Originated as an urban model to explain layout of 1920s Chicago
-Circular model with multiple layers serving to classify a particular section of the city:
Central Business District
(CBD, like New York Financial District),
Zone of Transition
(Inner-city slums, such as Section 8 homes or city projects),
Zone of Workers' Homes
(low class , like South Central Los Angeles),
Residential Zone
(lower middle class, people who live on the fringe of the city), and
Commuter's Zone
(middle & upper class homes in the suburbs, like Beverly Hills)
-Very innovative representation, however did not recognize all necessary economic, social, and physical characteristics to be considered an accurate portrayal of city
-A new model displaying the impact of transportation infrastructure on the design of a city
Transportation has (+) effect on industry, (-) effect on housing market; basically more industry & cheaper/less desirable homes located around transportation lines
- Hoyt's conclusion served as a solid contribution to field, however limited findings still beckoned for more advanced models
Chauncey Harris and Edward Hullman's
Multiple Nuclei Model
-Unique model that accounts for a city's multiple commercial hubs, instead of just one CBD
- Purpose was to show division of city's wealth into community sub-groups--> the combination each of these "mini CBDs" create the city's economic base thus giving cause for the name Multiple Nuclei Model
- Most realistic interpretation of a city to date
-Still criticized for not being able to represent all social characteristics of a city
**Concentric Zone Model, Sector Model, & Multiple Nuclei Model are three most recognizable/well-known Urban Ecological models

- "All of these models are gross oversimplifications. They do not, and cannot, take into consideration the unique characterisitics of each city. Cities are complex, dynamic structures with a mix of economic, social, ethnic, and physical characteristics" - Garrett Neagle,
Changing Settlements,
Cold, Hard Truth: No unanimous approach to mapping out cities
Bid-Rent Theory,
Alonso (1964)
Urban Ecological Structure,
Murdie (1969)
Core Frame Model
Model of Urban Structure

estbed for the
rchives of

- T-RACES Demo: http://salt.unc.edu/T-RACES/

-CityView--Baltimore Demo: http://cityview.baltimorecity.gov/

- Global Cities Demo: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/economic_studies/global_cities_of_the_future_an_interactive_map

Greenwald, Will. "7 City-Building Games like SimCity"
PC Magazine
, March, 7, 2013, p 1-7

- Marzaini ,Hamzimah Binti. "Multiple Nuclei Theory" (last updated December 21, 2012) link--> http://www.slideshare.net/hazimahmarzaini/multiple-nuclei-theory

- Clarke, Martin. "Models of Urban Land Use." (last updated April 29, 2008) link--> http://www.slideshare.net/dangerzonegeog/models-of-urban-land-use

- Ecumene (username). "5 Urban Models." (last updated March 12, 2009) link--> http://www.slideshare.net/ecumene/5-urban-models

- "Hypercities Project", T-RACES redlining maps published for Los Angeles, October 1, 2009. link--> http://hypercities.com/

- Park, Robert E.; McKenzie, R.D.; Burgess, Ernest. "1925: The City: Suggestions for the Study of Human Nature in the Urban Environment", Chicago: University of Chicago, 1925.

- Lipitz, George. "The Possessive Investment in Whiteness - How White People Profit from Identity Politics." Philadelphia: Temple University Press, June 1998. pp 64.

- Neagle, Garrett.
Changing Settlements
. Nelson Thornes, 1998. pp 128.
Takes into account

(i.e. placement of transportation infrastructure),
(industrial and commercial centers),
and social
(residency and social standings of cities various cultural backgrounds),
characteristics of a city
Defunct models, clockwise from top left:
Bid-Rent Theory (1964)
--> Attempted to show fluctuations in rent prices as cause for distribution of wealth in a city
Core Frame Model
--> Burgess' Concentric Zone Model in rectangle form
Model of Urban Structure (1983)
--> Tried to account for sophisticated urban activities such as commuter villages, housing projects, and even gentrification
Urban Ecological Structure (1969)
--> Only model that attempted to interpret ALL of a city's physical, economic, and social characteristics by stacking layers on top of one another. Fully realized version was not available for demonstration, possibly because task was too great to construct an accurate model

Basically, cities were too unique to conform to one standardized model.
Also, models were criticized for being too "American" by international scholars, leading them to construct models for their respective nation's cities
-Two organizations founded in 1930s whose goal was to individually grade each of the neighborhoods in California and expand practice to greater U.S.
-The Twist?: Organizations were founded with racially-charged motive--> wanted to identify affluent neighborhoods and establish white dominance over those neighborhoods to keep wealth away from "subversive racial influences"
- Though the organizations were founded with ambitions parallel to white surpremacy, method used to map city provides most accurate results to date
Picture showing some of the racial descriptors used by T-RACES urban cartographers
T-RACES presents most scholarly and accurate portrayal of a city.
...but that does not mean other people are not allowed try--> Urban Ecology has become relatively extinct extinct field of study, however it lives on in spirit through city-building video games and other interactive representations of the world
--> Most well-known city builder game. Game provides blank "canvases" of land that gamers then use to design and construct their own city. The title also possesses elements of realism, with establishing and maintaing an economy, locating reservoirs of natural resources, and creating transportation infrastructure being requirements if you want your city to advance in its overall development. These elements are mirrored (to some degree) in all city-building games
Two examples of SimCity in action:
On the left is a time lapse of a city's construction from the ground up and on the right is a stationary view of a town that you watch it grow into a city (time lapsed as well)
**Notice the similarities between the game and the study of Urban Ecology. Industry/commerce is scattered throughout domain (Harris & Hullman) but also possesses one primary location (Burgess); placement of industry/transportation routes near homes negatively affects the smiling-face icon above residencies (Hoyt). Social tendencies are not covered by the games, a testament to how difficult it is to map human characteristics in an urban setting
Link to T-Races Demo:

- Originated as a field of study in 1898 with Ebenezer Howard's first model
"The Three Magnets"
- Richard Burgess'
"Concentric Zone Model"
in 1925 began trend of creating urban ecological models. Peak period was between 1930s-1980s, until the last model was constructed in 1983 (*last model that was constructed for the field of Urban Ecology, other city models have been created just not labeled as a part of the field of Urban Ecology*)

Other Modern Forays into pseudo-Urban Ecology
McKinsey & Company's Global Cities of the Future: An Interactive Map
- Maps 600 cities that will dictate 65% of the world's GDP growth between 2010 & 2025.
- The site provides each of the cities population, total GDP, and GDP per capita in 2010 as well as 2025 and presents the information on an interactive bar-graph globe (you have to look at the site to understand completely)
-This program allows visitors to get an in-depth look at the lay out of Baltimore, MD.
- The most interesting aspect of the site is the "thematic overlay" option, which lets you analyze and export data relating to multiple social characteristics of Baltimore's population and city structure such as location of public/private schools, demographics such as population make-up and median household income, and even political representation boundaries for Congressman.
*This is the only program outside of T-RACES that effectively translates a city's social data into an urban diagram*
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