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Finalist, 2011

palimpsest transection

Michael Iversen, Urban Planning and Policy

My dissertation research conceptualizes urban areas as urbanized ecosystems within a social-ecological framework, so as to allow a more formalized level of inquiry. Towards this end, the methodology, Urbanized Ecosystem (UrbEcoSys) was developed for modeling an urbanized area as a complex, dynamic ecosystem, based on scoping, inventorying, and assessing the spatiotemporal flux and cyclic processes of energy, materials, costs, and information.

The thematic purpose of the visualization palimpsest transection is to superimpose multiple spatiotemporal layers of site intervention images (in this case, Washington Park, Chicago). An archeological term for a scroll that has been scraped off and used again, a palimpsest is used here to describe the accumulated and figurative iterations of site interventions over time and place.

Since the image is a single 2D spatiotemporal visualization, transects were used as a means of visual organization. An ecological term for a line along which one records occurrences of the phenomena of study, transection is used here for visualizing social-ecological phenomena between the spatiotemporal endpoints of the urbanized ecosystem site. Aligned with the orthogonal Chicago street grid, these five transects allow all layers of intervention to be seen simultaneously observed, while superimposed on a current satellite image of the site.