Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ecosystem tools

Now let's turn our attention to the Ecosystem tools. allows you to "paint" different ecosystems onto your vision by simply clicking and dragging your mouse across the screen. Users can change ecosystems within a block to their heart's content- there is nothing preventing a user from razing all the buildings in a block and restoring its historical ecology, or putting in 100-story skyscrapers in their place. Of course, you could also choose to implement less-radical, more pragmatic changes as well, like adding a green roof to your building. Both kinds of interventions are encouraged- who is to say how the city's environment will change within the next decade (or 400 years)?

With that in mind, let's take a look at the different ecosystems that are available to the user. Ecosystems are broken down into different categories: Built (including 19 different building types); Natural (which includes 18 natural ecosystems that populated historic Mannahatta); Transportation (streets, rail lines, parking lots, etc.); Other (e.g. utilities, landfills, water treatment plants); and Modifiers (which alter other ecosystem types). There are a lot of options, but each ecosystem is explained in detail on the site with an image, a text description, and a list of parameter values that are used to calculate that ecosystem's environmental performance. A full list of ecosystems can be found at the end of this post.

Users can change what brush size they paint with- either one cell (10m2) at a time up to almost a quarter of a block! Different brush sizes are helpful for implementing different kinds of changes- whether pragmatic or radical- with ease.

An example of the smallest possible brush size- one 10 m2 pixel...

... and an example of the largest brush size, 7,200 m2 or about a quarter of a city block! 

No comments:

Post a Comment