We recently announced our latest project Urban Layers – an interactive map that explores the structure of Manhattan’s urban fabric.

The project is a part of an ongoing research focused on the intersection of open data and urban planning. In that sense, visualizing historical data marks the begging of a long-term initiative.
At that point we’ve used open data and some of the latest mapping technologies to render more than 45000 buildings and allow user-interaction with the map.

We are happy to trace and track all of the positive feedback and shout out a big “Thanks” to everyone who shared the project!

 

urban-layers-in-the-media-2

In the Media

We were happy to see Urban Layers gain some attention as it was named Map of the week by Gmaps Mania.

” Urban Layers is an incredible new mapped visualization of Manhattan’s building history. The map uses building construction data from PLUTO with Mapbox GL to create a highly responsive and interactive tool to explore the history of building construction in central New York.”

Mapping the History of Manhattan’s Growth
Keir Clarke — GMapsMania

 

Michelle Young — founder of @untappedcities published a great article about the project:

“A map tool that opens with a quote from Rem Koolhaas’ Delirious New York? How could we resist?”

Explore the Phantom Architecture of NYC’s Past

 

The map was also published on FastCodesign, gizmodo, curbedNYLesEchos.frLumieres de la villeArkitera and featured in a video by France24.

“Morphocode has done their fair part in decoding the building hullaballoo with Urban Layers, an interactive map that allows users to scroll through different decades while it depicts how development spread across the city.”

See How Development in Manhattan Spread Over 250 Years

 

On Citylab

Urban Layers ultimately made it to the front page of Citylab where it became the most popular story.  Make sure to read the full article written by Kriston Capps.

 

“Seeing when those buildings were constructed at the parcel level with a simple slide of a rule is a real advance in data mapping”

Mapping the Age of Every Building in Manhattan

 

 

 

On Twitter

The response on twitter was great. Here are some of our favourite tweets:

 

 

What’s Next?

Urban Layers is a work-in-progress. We have just scratched the surface of what is possible in terms of dynamic urban mapping and we are looking forward to:

Add more ‘Data Layers’
PLUTO – the dataset used in Urban Layers contains various information for each building: year built, footprint, height, ownership, etc. The ‘year built’ data is arguably the most inaccurate field and we are planning to add the rest of the available data to the map.
Adding more data fields and the ability to filter and cross-reference layers will provide a more in-depth look into urban dynamics.

Add more Cities
Adding the rest of NYC, as well as other cities is also something that we are excited about. Amsterdam and Chicago are great candidates for that since they already provide various open data sets.
Do you want to see a particular city/community featured? Drop us a line and let us know.

Fix Bugs
There are a couple of bugs related to the WebGL renderer that prevent to see the map in detail with some hardware configurations.

Better Mobile/Browser Support
We would like to improve the support for touch-enabled devices that support WebGL.

 

 

Support the project

The guys at Mapbox were kind enough to provide us with a one year standard plan and we are looking forward to use its full potential. Thank you Eric & Matt!

For anyone else willing to support the project or interested in any kind of collaboration – feel free to contact us !

Hope you’ve enjoyed Urban Layers. Thanks for spreading the word!

 

by Morphocode

Morphocode is an Architectural Practice working at the Intersection of Design and Technology. Morphocode is led by arch. Greta Dimitrova and arch. Kiril Mandov. We have written one of the first grasshopper add-ons; held lectures in different architectural schools around Europe; exhibited internationally and built an online community that we are proud of. Learn more.

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