Visualization of the Week: Urban metabolism

Visualizing cities' energy usage, population density, and material intensity.

This week’s visualization comes from PhD candidates David Quinn and Daniel Wiesmann, who’ve built an interactive web-mapping tool that lets you explore the “urban metabolism” of major U.S. cities. The map includes data about cities’ and neighborhoods’ energy usage (kilowatt per hour per person) and material intensity (kilo per person) patterns. You can also view population density.

resource_intensity.jpg
Click to see the full interactive version.

Quinn writes that “one of the objectives of this work is to share the results of our analysis. We would like to help provide better urban data to researchers.” The map allows users to analyze information on the screen, draw out an area to analyze, compare multiple areas, and generate a report (downloadable as a PDF) with more details, including information about the specific data sources.

Quinn is a graduate student at MIT; Wiesmann is a PhD candidate at the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, Portugal.

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This post is part of an ongoing series exploring visualizations. We’re always looking for leads, so please drop a line if there’s a visualization you think we should know about.

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  • ilyse kazar

    Just a note to say this map is GREAT but at least on Mac works properly only in Chrome.

  • http://urbmet.org David Quinn

    Hi Ilyse,

    I’m one of the developers of this map. Can you let me know what your browser/OS versions are that it did not work on? We’ve tested on Firefox/Safari/Chrome on a Mac and did not notice any problems.

    Alternatively, you can click http://supportdetails.com/?recipient=info@urbmet.org and we will get the info.

    Thanks,
    David