Via Chicago Line Cruises, this infographic tells the tale of one of the greatest engineering projects ever completed: the reversal of the Chicago River. Chicago was booming in the late 1800s, but like many cities of the day it lacked proper sewer infrastructure. As a result the city was choking on its own waste. To solve the problem, engineers launched a project so demanding it spawned its own informal textbook of geological-scale interventions: the Chicago School of Earth Moving. By reversing the river, Chicagoans sent their waterborne waste into the Mississippi River and eventually the Gulf of Mexico, instead of into Lake Michigan. That decision was controversial at the time, and part of the reason Chicago got away with flushing their refuse past St. Louis is that engineers blasted the decisive dam to start the new flow in the middle of the night on New Years Day—just in time to preempt a lawsuit coming together in St. Louis. Today the decision is still controversial—for its contribution to toxic algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico, and for its otherwise unprecedented withdrawal of fresh water from the Great Lakes—but it has also come to be revered for its sheer engineering bombast. The American Society of Civil Engineers in 1999 named The Chicago Wastewater System a "Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium."
Posts tagged with "Infographics":
While Citi Bike is publicly bleeding money and senior staff, the program continues to be extremely popular on the streets of New York. The blue bikes have woven themselves into the city’s urban fabric like yellow cabs, or halal carts, or rats eating shwarma that fell off a halal cart. New data released by Citi Bike shows that the bikes aren't just being used by tourists pedaling from MoMA to the High Line—they are a viable transportation option for the city's commuters. Sarah Kaufman of NYU’s Rudin School of Transportation, Juan Francisco Saldarriaga from Columbia’s Spatial Information Design Lab, and designer Jeff Ferzoco took some of Citi Bike's data and translated it into a video to show general patterns of the program. The map represents about 75,000 rides taken over a two-day period in September. Their work, which shows purple dots zipping around Brooklyn and Manhattan, isn’t too surprising: ridership is up dramatically around rush hour and is most concentrated in the financial district and Midtown. Researchers at NYU also discovered that Citi Bike has become a viable transit alternative—especially when the MTA is experiencing delays. So, Citi Bike has become a valuable transit alternative. “For the month of September, there is evidence of ‘reactionary biking,’ in which subway riders encountering delays likely switched modes to bike share for that trip,” they explain. And as the map shows, most people using the system are yearly members. That's great for New Yorkers—a one year membership sets them back less than a month on the MTA—but it is killing Citi Bike's bottom line. The program needs to up the yearly membership fee or boost sales on daily passes if it wants to stay solvent and continue to expand. That's because, unlike other bike share programs, Citi Bike receives no public money; and New York City Mayor de Blasio says that’s not going to change. If only there was a bank—perhaps one whose name is plastered all over the bikes—that could just write another check. If only.
Over time, architects, designers, and engineers have demonstrated how the structural significance and quality of architectural design impacts the built environment and the quality of life of people residing within it. To drive that point home, the AIA has released an infographic showing architecture's key role in the enhancement of individuals' physical and mental well-being. The interactive charts explore how design plays significantly more than an aesthetic function. It is not solely about linear or convex shapes, about geometric structures or innovative materials. Rather, the importance of architecture lies in the choices that architects make when designing buildings in order to positively affect the quality of life of its users. The infographic entitled "Designing Community, Shaping Health" was designed by Link Studio and depicts how diligent architectural decision-making can impact human life. The graphics show a variety of objects that the user is able to scroll over or click on in order to see their function and impacts. For instance, clicking on a staircase will explain in great detail how buildings that are not equipped with elevators ultimately benefit individuals through exercise. In fact, stair-climbers have a 20 percent lower risk of stroke or death than elevator-users. The AIA makes a point that architects are not just instrumental in the modeling of a building, but rather, how they contribute to the shaping of our happiness and unhappiness as well. AIA’s message is that design doesn’t just impact our lives. It can save them. View the infographic here.
Cincinnati, a city on the move, released a draft of its first master plan since 1980 in anticipation of approval by the planning commission August 30. The 222-page draft identifies five “initiative areas,” dubbed Compete, Connect, Live, Sustain, and Collaborate. Each contain tasks for growth over approximately ten years, according to the plan, although the document will receive annual budget reviews and will be officially updated every five years. Those five initiative areas encompass virtually everything that forms the fabric of urban life, from economic development to sustainable transportation. Recent efforts to expand the city’s support for arts and culture in marginal neighborhoods have been lauded by community groups. But the master planners in the Queen City have their work cut out for them. Urban voters have lost significant sway in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District over the past two decades as political gerrymandering, population loss, and the state's loss of two Dongressional districts has taken its toll. An interesting graphic from MapGrapher above shows how new district boundaries helped dilute the stock of voters living within city limits by nearly 40 percent since the 1990s. Despite progress in strengthening its urban core, a fraught suburban-urban relationship still threatens the city’s long-term prospects for growth. The master plan captures some of the city's optimism, however, which luckily is in no short supply. More information about the plan will be presented at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 801 Plum Street on August 30.
Mapping Disasters. In and around New York City, we were fortunate Tropical Storm Irene created little more than flooding, fallen trees, and electric outages, and that last week's tremors left no damage in the city. If these rare northeast natural disasters are getting you down, perhaps it's time to consider moving to the safest place in the U.S. to avoid natural disasters? A NY Times infographic hasfound just the place: Corvallis, OR. Cities in Oregon and Washington state top the list, while areas in Texas and Arkansas have the highest risk of earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, and tornadoes. Standing up to Earthquakes. Many of the east coast's 19th century masonry buildings are not built to withstand a strong earthquake. How do those California skyscrapers withstand the west coast's dangerous, powerful tremors? Gizmodo featured an array of earthquake-tech such as tuned mass dampers and roller bearings allow tall buildings to move with the earthquake and absorb shock. Melancholy Utopia. The end of summer and beginning of fall will bring a flood of design events in European cities. Among them, more than forty designers will descend on Rotterdam on September 3rd to showcase their work throughout the city. The theme is Melanchotopia, an examination of the connections between melancholy and utopia, mourning and hope, said e-flux.
Mississippi Metro. Strange Maps pointed out a clever reinterpretation of the Mississippi River basin as a subway system. Check out a bigger version at Something About Maps. (You may also be interested in the Sustainable City Collective's list of top five urban infographics.) Byrne-ing Down the House. David Byrne waxes poetic on the arts-and-crafts bungalows of Berkeley after taking a recent bike ride through the city's early 20th century neighborhoods. Reskinning. Solve Climate News spotlights Toronto entrepreneur Ron Dembo who is tackling insufficiently skinned buildings to increase energy efficiency. (Via Planetizen.) Janie's got a Walk. With warm weather closer on the horizon (despite a fresh blanket of snow across parts of the country), Shareable recommends planning a Jane's Walk in your city, after the famous urbanist Jane Jacobs, to explore the history, ecology, and social issues in your neighborhood.