We’ve been thinking about trees a lot in Louisville recently, especially in light of recent research highlighting Louisville as a city experiencing significantly hotter than average temperatures compared to other US cities. We understand that aggressively increasing our urban tree canopy is one of the best things we can do to mitigate these rising temperatures.
In estimating urban tree canopy cover, researchers and analysts often to turn to imagery from the USDA’s National Agricultural Imagery Program to create vegetation models that can help provide canopy cover estimates for a point in time.
This week, in cooperation with the Urban Design Studio, we finally got a chance to sink our teeth into some USDA NAIP data, with a focus on two urban neighborhoods in Louisville: Portland and Tyler Park. We sort of picked these two random, and we look forward to using this data to perform similar analyses for the rest of Louisville Metro. If you’re interested in the sausage-making, the process we used is called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index… described here. For technical reasons related to the data, we had to use imagery from 2010.
Some caveats: (1) These are estimates, (2) While this imagery is available for Kentucky biennially from something 2006-2012, only the 2010 quarter quadrangles had the necessary Near Infrared “4th Band” that’s needed to pick up leaves on plants and trees. (3) Also, although I kept tweaking the NDV Index, a bit of grass always seemed to make it into the model. (4) I separated out a portion of uninhabited flood plain within Metro’s Portland boundary, and north of the interstate, where no one lives. If that area is included, then Portland’s 2010 canopy estimate would be 25%.
NOTE: For those of you “in the know” this analysis is not directly related to Urban Design Studio’s work on the Downtown Tree Inventory, which is in the final stages of data cleaning, and to be presented in a few weeks.
PLEA: Does anyone know if 2012 NAIP Imagery with the 4th band is available or even extant?
I think it would be interesting to look only at the 4am liquor stores, and then analyze the all the crimes near those liquor stores (say within a 1/4 mile maybe), vs a sample of crimes around liquor stores that close earlier than 4am. But until then, here are the broad brushstrokes… total number of alcohol and drug related arrests by council district “Since August 2012″… major kudos to Mark Schaver of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting for organizing the data!! Links to the WFPL stories here and here!
Louisville Metro Council finally held a vote on the controversial Willow Grande condo tower proposal in the historic Highlands neighborhood Cherokee Gardens, approving the rezoning, but not yet approving the development plan, and in effect, signalling that the planning commission needs to help developers and opposing neighborhood residents work things out (the planning commission had previously denied the rezoning). The whole situation brings up a host of complicated issues surrounding neighborhood planning, neighborhood change, and residential density (or lack thereof). Tom Owen, the council person for the district recused himself from the vote, as he and family members own property nearby, but released this interesting statement that addresses some of the issues that has made the proposed project so contentious. While many of the neighborhood folks found this condo high rise completely out of character for the neighborhood, some see Willow Grande as furthering the possibility of denser, high rise infill projects in Louisville’s historic neighborhoods. Unfortunately, Willow Grande is anything but dense, its 17 stories containing only 24 million dollar-plus units. Some see the sharp urban/suburban divide of this vote to rezone as further evidence of the political problems resulting from Louisville’s 2003 city/county merger, where clashes between urban and suburban values can result in poor decision making for Louisville’s “old city” neighborhoods.
I had to do some social media scraping as a homework assignment for my Technicity MOOC. I scraped Twitter data using the Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet TAGS v5 from Google Templates. In the last week there were slightly more than 3200 tweets with the tags #cplan, #urbanplanning, #cities, and #urbanism. I was hoping to make a map, but only around 90 included geolocational info (less than 3%).
I’ve been looking at a lot of data for Downtown Louisville recently, in part, to be a more informed citizen as the Louisville Downtown Development Corporation gets started on a new 10-year Downtown Master Plan. Pretty soon a public engagement process will begin, and people will put forth their thoughts and ideas on how to improve Downtown… and the inevitable chicken vs egg debate will emerge at some point… does retail and commercial draw residents, or do residential rooftops need to be in place before such businesses can thrive? Obviously that argument can, and does, go both ways in many cities across the US, but in my humble opinion (and based on the map below) I think Downtown Louisville badly needs a hearty injection of new residents Downtown (and much needed new multi-unit housing development to make that possible). There are huge gaps in residential buildings across Downtown, and most of the only truly dense Census Blocks from 2010 are public housing towers and corrections centers.
I hadn’t made a Dot Density map since my days as a geography student, but I thought it made for a good visualization tool for seeing the large, uninhabited swaths of Downtown Louisville. I was inspired by Brandon M-Anderson’s AMAZING Dot Density web map for the 2010 US and Canadian populations. The population data came from the Census 2010 TIGER files, and everything else from the amazing folks at KYGEONET, who maintain Kentucky’s best free and open geodata portal.
Shew! It’s been another one of those busy periods where I haven’t had time to make a proper MapGrapher post. But never fear dear reader…I’m back with something to whet your mapgraphic appetite. I’ve been working on this project for cycLOUvia the last couple of weekends. Its an infographic that displays the information from a survey we conducted at Louisville’s first Open Streets event, cycLOUvia. We stopped around 100 cyclists and pedestrians and asked them a few questions about the event, and then I took the resulting data and made this fun little graphic. Enjoy!