Sunday, 19 September 2010

100 Essential Books of Planning

Since this is my 100th attempt at a coherent post, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect upon something numerically appropriate.

In 2009, to celebrate 100 years of the American planning movement, the American Planning Association decided to put together a list of 'essential books of planning' - which of course contains 100 books. All good planners own well thumbed copies of all 100 and most have committed them to memory. Perhaps not. Actually, there are many people may have forgotten about/never heard of. The quick, at-a-glance pdf list is worth downloading just to check this.

The list is compiled by decade, and it makes interesting reading. Some examples below (can't say I've read them all but I did particularly like Leopold's A Sand County Almanac)...
  • Bowling Alone (Putnam, 2000)
  • The Rise of the Creative Class (Florida, 2002)
  • The Devil in the White City (Larson, 2004)
  • The Geography of Nowhere (Kunstler, 1994)
  • Edge City (Garreau, 1991)
  • Cities of Tomorrow (Hall, 1988)
  • Life Between Buildings (Gehl, 1987)
  • The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (Whyte, 1980)
  • A Reader in Planning Theory (Faludi, 1973)
  • Small is Beautiful (Schumacher, 1973)
  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Jacobs, 1961)
  • The Image of the City (Lynch, 1960)
  • Towards New Towns for America (Stein, 1951)
  • A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There (Leopold, 1949)
  • The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighborhoods in American Cities (Hoyt, 1939)
  • Towards a New Architecture (Le Corbusier, 1923; in English, 1927)
  • Cities in Evolution (Geddes, 1915)
...if you're wondering why Garden Cities of To-Morrow is not on the list, check your dates. Obviously, the list is US-centric but it does make interesting reading. There are even some 'methods' books on the list, such as Krueckeberg and Silvers' 1974 text on Urban Planning Analysis. Also, there are many on the list that are not really 'planning' books as such, like von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom (1944).

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Filtering Flow Data

My adventures in spatial interaction visualisation continue. I'm currently finalising some more of this work in a paper I'm writing and it gets quite complicated so I've tried to think of ways to simplify the patterns within the vast datasets I've been working with.

The image below shows inter-district migration in the UK for 2001 at different flow magnitudes in a very short animation. This is just one example of the kind of visual things I've been working on recently.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Flow Map Layout

I've been experimenting with mapping flow data (again) and this time have been looking at Flow Map Layout, by Phan et al. at Stanford. There is a short paper on it, and a slideshare presentation, but basically it offers a slightly different approach to flow mapping.

I experimented using UK commuting data for 2001. I looked at the top 50 flows (by district) into Greater London. This equates to more than 550,000 commuters going in to London but it excludes intra-London moves obviously. It's a bit tricky at first when you are trying to get used to it but when you do you can produce some nice images... Click on the image below to see it full size.

You can move things around in the (basic) mapping interface and it is actually quite flexible. There are some display options for colours and edge routing, etc.

The largest inflow was from Epping Forest, with around 26,000 commuters.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Local Enterprise Partnerships in England

Some recent news from England, where the Government has announced that 56 proposals for Local Enterprise Partnerships have been received. Although they are not similar in scale to the previous regional structures, there is evidence that they have some functional basis.

Among the proposals are Liverpool City Region, Kent and Medway, 'Enterprise M3' (covering parts of Hampshire and Surrey), 'Gatwick Diamond' and Sheffield City Region. All this came about because of a letter Vince Cable and Eric Pickles sent to Local Authority and Business Leaders in June 2010.

Interesting snippets from the letter include 'separate arrangements will apply in London' and 'the Coalition Government is determined to rebalance the economy towards the private sector' and - interestingly - 'we wish to enable partnerships to better reflect the natural economic geography of the areas they serve and hence to cover real functional economic and travel to work areas'.

Given this last statement, the list of the proposals submitted begins to look more interesting...