Mapping City Flows as Blood
Blood is everywhere when it comes to describing cities. We have arterial roads, pulsing transport flows, and cities with different metabolisms. Thanks to great new datasets and visualisation software the analogy of cities with pulsing flows is being increasingly utilised for explanatory mapping. For example the work of UCL CASA’s Jon Reades above depicts the London Underground network as a set of arteries that thicken as passenger volumes passing through the network increase, whilst Pedro Miguel Cruz has taken it one step further to depict Lisbon’s roads as “blood vessels” (complete with their own clots).
I think these visualisations offer a neat conceptualisation of city flows provided the metaphor isn’t stretched too far. As the slime mould (below) shows us, we have a lot to learn from comparing our cities to biological processes- just so long as it doesn’t get too gory!