Two Approaches to Urban Sensing — Synoptic vs. Ground Truth

“The urge to observe the whole city in its full excruciating detail — synoptically — that’s evident in CUSP and Koonin’s work isn’t new. In fact, its one of the oldest ideas in city planning. One of the pioneers of modern urban planning, Patrick Geddes advocated large-scale data collection and landscape visualization as a scientific tool for understanding cities (and who was, trained as an evolutionary biologist, himself an outsider to the existing community of urban reformers). And Geddes traced the urge back to Aristotle in his 1915 treatise Cities In Evolution:

“[Aristotle] urged that our view be truly synoptic, a word which had not then become abstract, but was vividly concrete, as its make-up shows : a seeing of the city, and this as a whole ; like Athens from its Acropolis, like city and Acropolis together the real Athens from Lycabettos and from Piraeus, from hill-top and from sea. Large views in the abstract, Aristotle knew and thus compressedly said, depend upon large views in the concrete.”” – Two Approaches to Urban Sensing — Synoptic vs. Ground Truth

Leave a Reply