Stadtportraits und Stadtkarikaturen



Cities are a very rich source of data in order to understand how people organize them-selves at different scales. The discourse on the visualization of cities offered different approaches, from more abstract to illustrative and figurative ones. In this chapter, we approach the visualization of cities in a less abstract, puristic way. Distancing our-selves from scientific visualization, we embrace what we call a figurative approach to visualization. With this approach we take a step back from the idea that visualization has to represent data only in the most direct and abstract way. The figurative approach extends the concept of portraits and caricatures into the realm of data, using visual metaphors and introducing visual distortions for emphasizing certain aspects of the data. This permissiveness enables us to build visualization artifacts that use playful analogies to better communicate the complex nature of cities to a non-academic, general audience.
This article will describe the process that took two visualization cases from a direct to a figurative approach, not entering into detailed technicalities, but tying it with a cogent discourse that presents and applies portraits and caricatures in the context of data visualization.


information visualization, urban visualization, figurative visualization


Information visualization

Related Project

COSMO - COllaborative System for Mobility Optimization

Book Chapter

Die Stadt entschlüsseln – Wie Echtzeitdaten den Urbanismus verändern, 2, pp. 103-115, Birkhäuser, October 2013

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