In the workshop Visualize Urban Complexity computational design techniques were used to visualize statistical data from the city of Zurich. Following questions served as motivation for the project:
How did Zurich grow? How sustainable is it? What path did my breakfast take this morning? What is the journey of rubbish? What flows in and out of the city? How do McDonalds and health correlate? How healthy is our life in this city? Where do how many people live on how much space and why? Where do the old people live, where the rich people and why? And where do they work? In which areas do people drive a SUV? How would a subway change the appearance of Zurich?
Visualizations can do more than just “show data”. They might be one approach to answer the above questions. When you visualize, you have to interpret your data, to communicate an understanding of it. You’re actually telling a story. Data can take many interesting forms. Rather than relying on toolkits that produce charts or graphs, you can taylor your appropriate displays. The goal was to open up imagination in ways that bar charts cannot do. This enables to highlight important circumstances, reveal patterns, and simultaniously show features that exist across multiple dimensions in the urban context.
Aquiring and parsing data, mapping, data over time, connections and correlations, trees, hierarchies, recursion, networks, graphs, computational information design.
The workshop took place at the ETH ZurichChair for Information Architecture. Data was generously provided by the Statistics Office of the city of Zurich.