Got Graphics?

Explaining stuff, especially the complicated,  with words alone is not always enough.  A little visual aide sprinkled here and there can help the cause.    Infographics, simply put, are visual representations of information.   There are many forms and styles, and they are everywhere these days.   This post hones in on a few choice planning, design, transportation or other related ones that have come across my radar screen.  This is not a 'best of' list, it was not based on a comprehensive survey or search, nor did we have a rigorous selection criteria. Rather it is a subjective collection of 'notable, and noteworthy' that simply caught and held our attention. I say 'our' attention because this collection is not mine alone.  I polled staff at Renaissance to solicit examples of favorite, or noteworthy infographics.  Jessica Dimmick, Stephen Mainzer, David Stamm, Whit Blanton, and Alana Brasier responded to the call (thanks!).  The collection presented here is what came back in the net that I cast.  I'm going to let the graphics do the talking, and keep my commentary brief.   They are presented randomly, and not in any particular order of preference.   We also invite you to grow this collection by sharing the URL of your favorite notable or noteworthy infographic in this post's comments.

The New Yorker magazine recently published this interactive tool for visualizing median income across various subway lines.  It is simple, clean, and one can lose more than a few minutes clicking and comparing if you are not careful.  The notable thing for me was the differences in income not just by line, but by borough, and Manhattan clearly emerges as the wealthiest.  But go see for yourself.

New Yorker - Inequality and New York's Subways

The website I Am Traffic publishes in its resources a very well done series of infographics that are very effective in illustrating dimensions, issues and points relating to biking, pedestrian and traffic.  The example below illustrates general sizes and width of lanes.  But there's more.  Diversity of bicyclistsExclusion ZonesWhy We Dont Share. Sharrows with ParkingBuffered Bike Lanes with ParkingRight Buffered Bike LanesIf There's Not Enough Space.

I Am Traffic - Vehicles and Lanes

While we are on the bike theme, there are a couple well done educational infographics on biking published by Bike Arlington.  The one below is on common biking myths, and this one (to a PDF) is on hot weather tips.

Bike Arlington Infographic - Myths on getting around by bike

As an infographic this may be a little stretch, it's actually more an art piece.  Nonetheless, it's very smart and worthy of mention (and the map geek in me just had to post it).  This website sells maps of different cities composed of typeface. Check them out.

Typographic Maps - Chicago, DC, etc

Perhaps more infowebsite than infographic, The Transcect Collection, offers a picture catalog that helps understand scales of natural and urban form along the transect that ranges from least developed T1 (natural zone) to most developed T6 (urban core, downtown).  The images in this website are an effective tool in helping people visualize the transect by showing examples from real places.

Transect Collection

After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita the Louisiana Recovery Authority initiated a Louisiana Speaks regional visioning project.  As part of this effort, a team of consultants led by Urban Design Associates produced a Planning Toolkit.  The screenshot below is the Matrix Illustrated spread on pages 18-19 of this toolkit,which we are placing in this notable and noteworthy collection because it is an effective visualization of both issues and scales, and covers a lot of ground in a two page foldout.

An excerpt matrix from the Lousiana Speaks Planning Toolkit.

This next example is not a planning, design related infographic, but caught our attention nonetheless. It's an illustration of someone's knitting efforts, sales over a period of time and where the sales went.  It's a clever illustration.   The screenshot from Flickr below will take you to higher resolution version of this infographic on their site.

Diagram about Crochet

A blog post on the Sustainable Cities Collective drew my attention to the below "Metrics Framework" infographic that is demonstrating the benefits of various activities associated with urban agriculture.  I like how clean and well-organized it is, very much in a report card (or consumer reports) style of presentation. There is another graphic they did that accompanies this, focusing on Health, Social, Economic and Ecological benefits that is also well done.

Metrics Framework - Benefits and Activities of Urban Agriculture

Finally, this one just made me chuckle.  Dont forget to share your favorites, if you have one, in the comments.

Craiglist, Missed Connections (Human Transit, www.humantransit.org)


--Jason Espie, Cities That Work Blog