Maps 2015 (15) Either we lack kids or we have too many schools


The Encuesta de Infraestructuras y Equipamientos Locales is a periodical survey in Spain which lets us know the state of infrastructures and public facilities in municipalities under 50.000 residents. According to the 2013 edition (the most recent available, which does not include some provinces in the map as Madrid or Huelva, at least for this topic), here is the municipal figure for the ratio between the capacity of kindergartens and the number of kids attending class in each settlement. Red squares are less than 40%, orange triangles 40% to 60%, and blue rhombus over 60%. No need to browse the absolut values (often depressing) to see clearly that the core of the Iberian peninsula is getting empty. Note, however, that as Madrid has no data in 2013 the map is misleading, as the region is quite different (just see how many blues nearby)

Just to make my position clear, the title is just that, a title, as the problem is far more complex… and not just a Spanish issue.

Maps (2015) Lago d’Iseo

An image from the project by Christo in Lago d’Iseo. Image from ANSA

This comes from a press release by ANSA, the Italian Press Agency, and the title is quite catching; in English it would be “walking on the Iseo lake with Christ”, as this is a project for a temporary structure on the aforementioned lake, in Northern Italy, which springs from the mind of Christo Vladimirov, aka Christo, and Jeanne- Claude, two plastic artists that have done things as wrapping the Reichstag. As always, an interesting work of art.

Maps 2015 (14) The city of Mexico in 1628

1628 image (from

For some reason I found this week that image of Mexico city in 1628, drawn by Juan Gómez de Trasmonte and conserved at the Archivo General de Indias. A century after the conquest the city is still surrounded by lakes, and the structure of city blocks is apparent.

I also found that image of a mural by Diego Rivera (XXth century), representing the pre-hispanic city. Sure that is not a historical city, but I like the image.

Diego Rivera, National Palace, Mexico (image  from wikipedia)

Maps 2015 (13) Nolli

The map of Rome drawn by Giambattista Nolli in 1748 is one of those documents that any planner (or at least any architect- planner) would like to have for the cities in which she works. It is the ancestor of many maps used in historic district plans. Sure, nowadays those historic district plans can also include detail regarding the layout of non-monumental buildings, but the debt towards this pioneering map is what it is…Alongside the five weeks in balloon by Jules Verne and the maps of Turgot for Paris and Texeira for Madrid, it is one of those works that predate such things as google maps…

The University of Oregon has a website in which you can get a look at the document; the app allows a comparison with current satellite images. Berkeley allows the access to jpg portions of the map.


Maps 2015 (12) Seeing TV in Italy

grande fratello

Design Density is a research laboratory at the Design Department of the Milano Polytechnic. The Link Magazine, published by Mediaset, called them to do a work for their tenth issue in which they were to visualize a series of datasets concerning how Italians see TV. From the first season of Big Brother and its followers by region (quite related to the places contenders came from) to other issues as the time “compass roses” of audience by chain. All this can be seen in a Flickr group.

Maps 2015 (11) Views of the world in the 1940s

Richard Edes Harrison’s story is interesting: how a designer became a cartographer not because of specific map-making skills, but rather through his ability to convey a complex information to common people. In a moment (WWII) in which aviation was the technology that transformed the perception of distances, his maps introduced to the US public projections and perspectives that, by going ahead of the traditional Mercator projection, allowed people to better understand the events as they unfolded.

Timothy Barney’s and Kenneth Field’s articles are interesting

Maps 2015 (10) Inequality of personal revenue in Spain

Fedea (Fundación de Estudios de Economía Aplicada) is an economic think tank financed by a large set of big Spanish firms. In November 2014 it published “Personal revenue in Spanish municipalities and its distribution” (Miriam Hortas Rico and Jorge Onrubia Fernández). Fedea’s website includes two maps in which you can visualize, by municipality, revenue and inequality as expressed through the Gini index (the closer to 1, the most unequal). The results are based in micro data from the Personal Revenue Tax 2007, for the 1.109 municipalities over 5.000 residents, and the project would extend that series over time.

The original Fedea map on income distribution

The original Fedea map on income distribution (access the link, you can zoom and get detailed data for each municipality in the original website)

The use of a gradient of the same hue is not always helping reading the map; the most important thing is, as in any map, the underlying data, but I think there are better ways to visualize that worrying content (it is worth reminding that these are 2007 data, and the current crisis doesn’t seem to have improved the situation). That is what I have tried to do, using the database published on the web. Maps show quintiles.

Personal revenue. It is clear that Southern and Western Spain are worse off.

Personal revenue, average by municipality. It is clear that Southern and Western Spain are worse off.

Gini index by municipality. The mediterranean coast seems more unequal; suburbs seem more equal (this is just a first order analysis looking at the map)

Gini index by municipality. The mediterranean coast seems more unequal; suburbs seem more equal (this is just a first order analysis looking at the map)

Part of the total revenue corresponding to the higher 1%. In most municipalities they only get 10%, but there are many red spots.

Part of the total revenue corresponding to the higher 1%. In most municipalities they only get 10%, but there are many red spots.

Maps 2015 (7) Over the horizon consumption

mapas 2015-7

Some maps can only go so far without the associated data ; this is what happens to a web map proposed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which portrays how each country in the world interacts with others in environmental consumption terms (2005 data) ; and someone can go and check how his country is doing. Sure, Afghanistan or Cuba have a quite different pattern from the one of the European countries, but some results seem strange (Spain having a strong influence on… Liberia?). The “global” option shows how the planet influences itself.

Maps 2015 (6) A mind map


… of some of the last posts and a part of the ones to follow shortly. As I stated before in Starters of urban change (1), my interest its, beyond the appeal of the current state of the cities, in what makes the cities change. Moreover, as I had previously stated, the grain of the city is relevant, so there is also a scale issue. I accept suggestions.