This blog is a research platform organizing projects, examples, and thoughts surrounding the idea of an urban mapping which reads the city as a network of individual activities and relationships in time rather than as a static form. This research looks at the city both from within and from above as kind of urban cat-scan. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

“Law of Mother Earth”: Our earth protected as a Living System...

In Bolivia, South America the “Law of Mother Earth” was passed. It “holds the land as sacred and defines it as a living system with rights to be protected from exploitation….  focusing on developing ecofriendly relationships between the human beings and the environment.”

According to this Law,  Mother Earth is entitled to:  life, the diversity of life, water, clean air, equilibrium, restoration, living free of contamination.

Our earth is bigger than Bolivia. Is it just a piece of our earth that is protected?


Friday, November 04, 2011

Video: A Murmuration of Starlings - The Atlantic

Video: A Murmuration of Starlings - The Atlantic

This fascinating video of birds in flight is a great visual example of the power of group dynamics in perceiving and synchronizing instantly. According to Brandon Keim from Wired, these like crystal formation and avalanches are "systems poised on the brink, capable of near-instantaneous transformation" and are called "scale-free correlation".

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Living Axon and Datascapes- 90,000 hours of A/V analyzed

I have not posted in a while as I have been so busy with too many exciting projects. I have come across many things that belong in this blog but today's find led me to post again. This project by Deb Roy of MIT (via a former student) touches on various layers of the research and experiments I and my students have been working on. I saw in it pieces of so many of our experiments which all started with a/v which eventually became the origination of this blog. This project by Roy, The Birth of a Word, has a fascinating example of the data that can be drawn out of audio and video imagery and how it can inform us. It also shows a bit of experimentation with how the imagery can be filtered in order to become useful. I am terming the imagery where you move through the house as "Living Axonometric", in the spirit of one of our projects, "Living Section".

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A long take, a continuous story of 15 miles and uninterrupted negative

Today in the New York Times an artist's project is presented, a three day walk on Broadway Street, a long take of overlapped streets, signs, faces, neighborhoods on a continuous film, a continuous story. Photographer Stéphanie de Rougé reads the city, literally through signs combined into sentences, images combined into the story(ies) of “varied backgrounds” together as it is New York City and as captured through the artist’s own movement through the city's “main artery”, Broadway Street while shooting on one continuous film which she advances as choreographed by the imagery in her path. To get the full effect of this immerse reading of the city, watch the short audio slide show.

The NY Times article: The City Visible, Broadway Mosaic
Photographer Stéphanie de Rougé's website

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration - from above and from below

These two timely projects are examples of quantitative and qualitative aspects of yesterday's event and records of a significant turning moment in time.

In the project by GeoEye a high resolution image of Washington D.C at 11:19 a.m. January 20, 2009 is collected from above by satellites "at 41 centimeter ground resolution" as stated by Mark Brender from GeoEye to mathematically calculate the numbers of people present at the event. Steve Doig, a journalism professor who specializes in crowd counting said; "It's actually fairly simple math, getting the square footage and dividing that by some number of feet per person".

See cnet news article Satellites, balloons, and math used to count inauguration crowd at cnet news

In the project Picturing the Inauguration by the New York Times a multitude of qualitative moments (photos of individuals) globally are submitted composing a vivid, textured matrix of events big and small, intimate and collective of this transformative moment in time. As a collective from below mapping, you may contribute to its making by submitting your own photo to

See New York Times Picturing the Inauguration: The Readers’ AlbumJanuary 18, 2009 at

Friday, October 03, 2008

A trajectory is a story... is a Map

"The simplest form of a geographical map is not the one that seems most natural to us today, or namely a map representing the surface of the ground as seen by an extraterrestrial gaze.
The first need to put places on a map is connected with travel: it is the reminder of the succession of the stages, the tracing of a route.
Following a path from the beginning to the end gives a special kind of satisfaction, both in life and in literature (the journey as narrative structure), so one may well wonder why the theme of the journey has not met with the same success, and not only appears sporadically, in the figurative arts.
The need to comprehend in one image both the dimension of time and that of space lies at the origin of cartography. Time as a story of the past... and time in the future: as the presence of obstacles that are encountered on the journey, and here the weather (tempo atmosferico) is joined with chronological time (tempo cronologico).
The geographical map, in short, although static, implies a narrative idea, it is conceived in keeping with an itinerary, it is an Odyssey."

Italo Calvino. Il viadante nella mappa, in Collezione di sabbia, Palomar/Mondadori, Milan 1984

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Section - a Drawing/ and a Movie

Former student of mine, Mike Stopka presents us also with the familiar section drawing; in this case to scale, with exact dimensions and placement of windows and doors and with appropriate wall thicknesses, yet suddenly a video window appears animating the static drawing with the activities of the user within the space. As we watch, we see and hear the user moving from one domestic activity to another as he crosses from space to space within the drawing and across the section cut. At points, we are zoomed into the video leaving the drawing as it exists the frame of the document. This document shows the potential of creating documents where we can be immersed into a story held within ( a movie) while being in an architectural document. In this case, the section-cut fluctuates between being a drawing and being a movie while being both. In this drawing/movie the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the place are presented in their intimate relationship.