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Friday Eye Candy: Comparing a Square Mile of the World's Famous Cities

Street networks and city blocks, reduced to their fundamental attributes, reveal the vast differences between cities.
January 27, 2017, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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What a difference a square mile makes.

On his personal blog, Geoff Boeing, an urban planning PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, has created a series of illustrations that allows easy comparison of the urban forms of cities as disparate as Rome and Irvine.

Inspired by Great Streets by Allan Jacobs, Boeing used Python and the OSMnx package he created for his dissertation. "With OSMnx we can download a street network from OpenStreetMap for anywhere in the world in just one line of code," explains Boeing.

Every image Boeing displays is cropped to one square mile—in cities like Portland, Irvine, Rome, Paris, and New York. The stark contrast of the images allows for "spatial objectivity," explains Boeing. The process is open source too—Boeing has placed examples and the code to reproduce these diagrams in OSMnx's GitHub repo.

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Published on Monday, January 2, 2017 in Geoff Boeing
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