Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I've been astonished how many computer savvy (professionally) types read and enjoy this blog, but perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising. Many of the best "amateur" urbanists come from these fields and, in fact, are better than many of the professional urbanists (go to any architecture, landscape architecture, or engineering company's website and they'll have an "urban design" portfolio).

One reason is because we're all experts in the world around us, but computer programming/developer/IT types inherently get it because of the networking aspect. I might be hyperbolizing a bit here in my belief that the internet is the 1) equivalent of the city in terms of its potential impact on humanity, 2) is designed, like the city, on a model based on the human brain - of nodes, links, hubs, etc. and 3) is fundamentally necessary to interconnect the digital and actual geographies of web and city, as things like 4square, yelp, urban spoon, and various other apps, particularly with regard to transit are beginning to do.

This brings me to my query. I'm looking to be able to produce heat maps of urbanism, that are an order of magnitude evolution from my convergence diagrams. However, I would need some programming help to do so. I want to be able to map the exponential power of intersection networks of cities. If anybody has any experience, thoughts, ideas, or suggestions, please send them my way.