In the workshop «Visualise Urban Complexity» computational design techniques were used to visualize statistical data from the city of Zurich.
The 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 old people live, where do rich people and why?», «Where do people work?», «In which areas do people drive a SUV?».
Visualisations 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 tailor your appropriate displays. The goal was to open up imagination in ways that bar charts cannot do. This enables important circumstances to be highlighted, reveal patterns, and simultaniously show features that exist across multiple dimensions in the urban context.
The workshop took place at the Chair for Information Architecture, ETH Zurich. Data was generously provided by the Statistics Office, city of Zurich.