The Satellites’ Progeny: Digital Chorography in the Age of Drone Vision

Karl Kullmann

Reviewed by Conor O’Shea

05 Feb 2017

With­out being deter­min­is­tic, acces­si­ble imag­ing tech­nol­o­gy wields con­sid­er­able agency in the evo­lu­tion of archi­tec­tur­al, land­scape, and urban dis­course. In the 1920s, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of the air­plane and the draft­ing machine respec­tive­ly inspired and facil­i­tat­ed the mod­ern archi­tec­tur­al project. In the 1970s and 1980s, the ubiq­ui­tous pho­to­copi­er was a key tech­nol­o­gy enabling the sam­pling, scal­ing, and com­posit­ing that per­me­at­ed the devel­op­ment of post­mod­ern the­o­ry. With dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy cross­ing a crit­i­cal thresh­old in the 1990s, dis­course fell ever more into lock­step with tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion. Advances in the usabil­i­ty, manip­u­la­bil­i­ty, and pro­cess­ing pow­er of three-dimen­sion­al mod­el­ing appli­ca­tions were cen­tral to the rapid shift from decon­struc­tivism to biomorphism.

In the 2000s, per­va­sive satel­lite imagery — ini­tial­ly through Ikonos™ and lat­er through Google Earth™ — facil­i­tat­ed the inter­pre­ta­tion of cities as organ­ic sys­tems.1 Char­ac­ter­iz­ing urban­ism in eco­log­i­cal, rather than for­mal, terms ulti­mate­ly led to the estab­lish­ment and influ­ence of land­scape urban­ism with­in archi­tec­tur­al dis­course. Rough­ly syn­chro­nous­ly, Geo­graph­ic Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems (GIS), which had hith­er­to been the domain of spe­cial­ists in geog­ra­phy, gained more user-friend­ly inter­faces, attract­ing exper­i­men­ta­tion with­in the spa­tial design dis­ci­plines. Cou­pled with increased avail­abil­i­ty of spa­tial­ized data, this tech­nol­o­gy was instru­men­tal in the renais­sance of map­ping, which the design dis­ci­plines had neglect­ed for three decades.2

In its many forms, inte­grat­ed map­ping based on wide­ly acces­si­ble satel­lite imagery and satel­lite-derived spa­tial data con­tin­ues to influ­ence con­tem­po­rary dis­course vig­or­ous­ly. The pro­lif­er­a­tion of Glob­al Posi­tion­ing Sys­tem (GPS) enabled smart phones has thus far sup­ple­ment­ed, rather than dis­rupt­ed, the pres­ence of the satellite’s over­ar­ch­ing gaze in design the­o­ry.3 This is prob­a­bly because, although smart phones dis­pense a wealth of inter­con­nect­ed loca­tion-spe­cif­ic data, the fideli­ty of this infor­ma­tion prin­ci­pal­ly suits inter­pre­ta­tion at the met­ro­pol­i­tan, rather than local, scale. That is, while these devices are cal­i­brat­ed to plot our pre­cise loca­tion in space, they are less pro­fi­cient at telling us about our imme­di­ate sense of place.

The drone’s eye

Recent­ly, imag­ing tech­nol­o­gy has shift­ed near­er to the ground as drones — the minia­tur­ized prog­e­ny of satel­lites — sat­u­rate alti­tudes below 400ft.4 Gyro­scop­i­cal­ly-sta­bi­lized mul­ti-rotor unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cles have been avail­able to con­sumers since 2009 and have reli­ably car­ried high def­i­n­i­tion cam­eras since 2012.5 In addi­tion to this now famil­iar opti­cal util­i­ty, drones are also pur­posed as micro-freighters, with exper­i­men­tal pay­loads includ­ing mer­chan­dise and human­i­tar­i­an aid deliv­ery, seed and insect dis­per­sal, and fire igni­tion and sup­pres­sion. In an extreme pay­load up-scal­ing, a British hob­by­ist trav­elled in a teth­ered swarm of 54 drones, with the home­made space-frame rem­i­nis­cent of the Wright broth­ers’ first efforts.

Although this brief manned drone flight encap­su­lates our per­sis­tent desire for a per­son­al­ly (re)affirming overview of our envi­ron­ment, the prop­a­ga­tion of drone tech­nol­o­gy has pri­mar­i­ly fol­lowed a less embod­ied tra­jec­to­ry. The evolv­ing third gen­er­a­tion of con­sumer drones includes two fea­tures that are poten­tial­ly sig­nif­i­cant to design dis­course and urban cul­ture in gen­er­al. The first is auto­mat­ed nav­i­ga­tion, which includes both the abil­i­ty to pre­de­fine vir­tu­al flight paths and the capac­i­ty to autonomous­ly track the ground-dwelling pilot” from the air. Auto­mat­ed nav­i­ga­tion also enables the sec­ond nov­el fea­ture, where­by topo­graph­ic fea­tures (includ­ing build­ings and land­scapes) are opti­cal­ly record­ed in over­lap­ping detail and con­vert­ed through stereopho­togram­me­try into orthorec­ti­fied and geo­ref­er­enced three-dimen­sion­al maps.

Relin­quish­ing direct con­trol over avion­ics frees drone users to image the land­scape method­i­cal­ly in all its rough­ness and detail. Although this is in itself a poten­tial­ly ground­break­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the democ­ra­ti­za­tion and indi­vid­u­al­iza­tion of map­ping, the self-track­ing capac­i­ty most per­son­i­fies third gen­er­a­tion drones. When aimed oblique­ly down and across at the user, drones become per­son­al mir­rors in the sky, enabling oper­a­tors to wit­ness them­selves in the third per­son, act­ing out their lives with­in the near land­scape. Con­se­quent­ly, just as we turned the eyes in smart­phones back onto big broth­er and even­tu­al­ly back onto our­selves, drones as per­son­al appli­ances of van­i­ty increas­ing­ly usurp drones as insid­i­ous instru­ments of insti­tu­tion­al sur­veil­lance.6

Notwith­stand­ing ongo­ing cul­tur­al ret­i­cence towards the sur­veil­lant capac­i­ty of drones, the like­ly wide­spread adop­tion of this tech­nol­o­gy rais­es stim­u­lat­ing ques­tions for archi­tec­ture, land­scape, and urban­ism. What are the impli­ca­tions when the dual­i­ty of the immer­sive, hor­i­zon­tal, eye-lev­el view and zenithal satellite’s gaze is dis­solved? How will this low-aer­i­al van­tage impact our imag­ing and cog­ni­tive map­ping of urban envi­ron­ments that, since the eigh­teenth cen­tu­ry, have pri­mar­i­ly been pre­sent­ed to us plani­met­ri­cal­ly? How will the third per­son view alter how urban actors con­ceive of their own sense-of-place in the city? And what new tech­niques for rep­re­sent­ing and imag­ing the city will the drone’s per­spec­tive ini­ti­ate or induce?

Third person urbanism © 2016 Karl Kullmann

In fram­ing these ques­tions, this essay antic­i­pates the trans­for­ma­tive agency of the drone’s‑eye view in design dis­course. This poten­tial is premised on three char­ac­ter­is­tics that dis­tin­guish drone-based imag­ing from satel­lite-derived imag­ing and map­ping. (1) Inter­sti­tial detail: Although the clar­i­ty of satel­lite imagery con­tin­u­al­ly improves, the sheer dis­tance and the large­ly orthog­o­nal per­spec­tive lim­its this per­spec­tive. The drone’s eye is capa­ble of extreme prox­im­i­ty and access­ing the under­neath and in-between spaces that remain hid­den from orbit 450 miles above the earth. (2) Near real-time con­trol: The rapid speed of the low earth orbits required for detailed imag­ing lim­it satel­lite imagery cap­ture to small pre­set win­dows. Web-based satel­lite imagery is also auto­mat­i­cal­ly fil­tered to priv­i­lege aes­thet­i­cal­ly palat­able imagery over less pas­toral imagery that may nev­er­the­less reveal more impor­tant infor­ma­tion about a par­tic­u­lar site.7 In con­trast, although their nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems remain teth­ered to geo­sta­tion­ary satel­lites, drones enable direct spa­tial and tem­po­ral con­trol over imag­ing. (3) Con­tent cre­ation: Design­ers engaged in map­ping gen­er­al­ly oper­ate as min­ers, sam­plers, and fil­ter­ers of satel­lite, aer­i­al, and spa­tial data pro­vid­ed by agen­cies and cor­po­ra­tions. Drones facil­i­tate direct — and usu­al­ly on site — user engage­ment in the cre­ation of opti­cal and pho­togram­met­ric content.

The bird and the satellite

From hill­tops and cathe­drals to cam­era-equipped bal­loons, kites, pigeons, air­planes, and, ulti­mate­ly, satel­lites, the eye in the sky has traced a cen­tu­ry and a half of increas­ing­ly high­er, more sys­tem­atized, and more ver­ti­cal aer­i­al vision. Mark­ing a return to low­er and more indi­vid­u­al­ized oblique view­points, the drone’s eye inter­rupts that pro­gres­sion. Pre­cur­so­ry momen­tum for this rever­sal is reflect­ed in the recent reemer­gence of the bird’s‑eye view in con­tem­po­rary media and online map appli­ca­tions.8 The revival of this anachro­nis­tic angle reveals lim­its to mod­ern cartography’s capac­i­ty to rep­re­sent coher­ent­ly the con­tem­po­rary post-urban land­scape and ren­der leg­i­ble the scale of every­day life.9 From orbit, we lose track of our place with­in seem­ing­ly undif­fer­en­ti­at­ed urban agglom­er­a­tions, which appear nat­u­ral­ized in their resem­blance to bac­te­r­i­al blooms. When zoomed right in, famil­iar fea­tures reg­is­tered in plani­met­ric forms often fail to res­onate with our estab­lished per­cep­tions of our place with­in our world.10

Cities as bacterial blooms © 2016 Karl Kullmann

How­ev­er, just as drone-based imag­ing remains tech­no­log­i­cal­ly inter­twined with satel­lite sys­tems, the revived bird’s‑eye view sup­ple­ments, rather than sub­sti­tutes for, the ver­ti­cal (nadir) view. The sym­bi­ot­ic rela­tion­ship between drones and satel­lites and between oblique and nadir views sug­gests poten­tial for address­ing the lim­i­ta­tions of mod­ern car­tog­ra­phy through nov­el hybrid map-rep­re­sen­ta­tions. Enabled by two inter­linked aer­i­al imag­ing plat­forms oper­at­ing at diver­gent scales, these nov­el maps seek the dual remit of con­vey­ing both the qual­i­ties of a place and the over­all struc­ture of the city. In doing so, they poten­tial­ly address Fredric Jameson’s stand­ing call for a new aes­thet­ics of cog­ni­tive map­ping that enables the sit­u­a­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the indi­vid­ual with­in the vaster total­i­ty.11

Although now three decades on, Jameson’s chal­lenge to com­bat loss of per­cep­tu­al ori­en­ta­tion in the post­mod­ern city remains rel­e­vant to con­tem­po­rary urban­ism. Indeed, this con­tin­ued sig­nif­i­cance is demon­strat­ed by the recur­rence of data-scap­ing/map­ping exam­ples that explic­it­ly or implic­it­ly lay claim to address­ing the terms of Jameson’s call. Enabled by the increase in spa­tial data, these visions seek inno­v­a­tive and enig­mat­ic win­dows into the invis­i­ble city-struc­tur­ing webs of infor­ma­tion and ener­gy. The shim­mer­ing” car­tog­ra­phy that results sub­sti­tutes sol­id and fixed iden­ti­ties with flows, change, and rela­tion­al dif­fer­ences.12 But, while effec­tive at illu­mi­nat­ing infor­ma­tion­al con­ver­gences with­in the vaster total­i­ty, urban data-map­ping projects gen­er­al­ly apply a very abstract thresh­old to the sit­u­a­tion­al com­po­nent of Jameson’s new aes­thet­ic of cog­ni­tive map­ping. Sit­u­a­tion­al” is inter­pret­ed more com­pre­hen­sive­ly here as rep­re­sen­ta­tion that acknowl­edges its own selec­tive and incom­plete point of view and includes rich­ness, diver­si­ty, and a degree of mate­r­i­al imme­di­a­cy.13 While sig­nif­i­cant­ly dimin­ished in mod­ern car­to­graph­ic con­ven­tions, these sit­u­a­tion­al char­ac­ter­is­tics are reflect­ed in choro­graph­ic map­ping practices.

Ana­logue chorographies

In Claudius Ptolemy’s clas­si­cal ternary rep­re­sen­ta­tion­al hier­ar­chy, chorog­ra­phy is the most ground­ed of the three modes of the nat­ur­al order.14 Chorog­ra­phy is sit­u­at­ed below the Euclid­ean pro­jec­tions of geog­ra­phy and the grand struc­ture of the (geo­cen­tric) uni­verse as estab­lished by cos­mog­ra­phy. Revived fol­low­ing the fif­teenth cen­tu­ry Latin trans­la­tion of Ptolemy’s Geo­graphia, the remit of chorog­ra­phy is the local region, where it reg­is­ters fea­tures at the near scale in which human life takes place. The Greek root chôra/​choros denotes a def­i­nite piece of ground, a place. Of the three rep­re­sen­ta­tion­al orders, this root posi­tions chorog­ra­phy clos­est to the mod­ern usage of land­scape (which traces Ger­man­ic etymology).

Unlike geog­ra­phy, which eschews like­ness for the abstrac­tion and pre­cise loca­tion of fea­tures, the near scale of chorog­ra­phy per­mits a qual­i­ta­tive and sen­so­ry approach to the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the par­tic­u­lar­i­ties of the land­scape. More­over, where­as quan­ti­ta­tive geo­graph­i­cal meth­ods seek to elim­i­nate the vagaries of inter­pre­ta­tion, chorog­ra­phy admits the cre­ative con­tri­bu­tion of the indi­vid­ual map­per. This is embod­ied in the com­mon prac­tice of depict­ing the map­per in the third per­son with­in the representation.

Nev­er­the­less, chorog­ra­phy remains more map than paint­ing. Choro­graph­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tions from the six­teenth and sev­en­teenth cen­turies con­tain both quan­ti­ta­tive and pic­to­r­i­al infor­ma­tion about land. Map space is scaled and pro­por­tioned accord­ing to a com­plex scaf­fold­ing of tra­vers­es and off­sets or tri­an­gu­la­tions, whose con­struc­tions are often super­im­posed into the rep­re­sen­ta­tion. How­ev­er, unlike the car­to­graph­ic pur­suit of Euclid­ean con­sis­ten­cy, choro­graph­ic con­struc­tions do not seek to depict all fea­tures equal­ly. Despite this elas­tic­i­ty, chorog­ra­phy ful­fills the orig­i­nal sense of sur­veyable space, where the sur­vey­or is sit­u­at­ed with­in the same space that is being mapped.

Renaissance chorographic survey of a region. From Leonhard Zubler, Fabrica et vsvs Instrvmenti chorographici: qvo mira facilitate describuntur regiones & singulae partes earum, veluti Montes, Vrbes, Castella, Pagi, Propugnacula, & simila, trans. Caspar Waser (Basel, Switzerland: Ludovici Regis, 1607), fig. 12. Creative Commons License 2016, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Library.

Although ini­tial­ly dis­played along­side geo­graph­ic pro­jec­tions, chorog­ra­phy was usurped begin­ning in the eigh­teenth cen­tu­ry by the more spa­tial­ly con­sis­tent mil­i­tary cav­a­lier pro­jec­tions and, even­tu­al­ly, by the plan.15 As cities and land-hold­ings extend­ed well beyond the hori­zon — and could no longer be seen in their entire­ty from cathe­dral tow­ers or hill­tops — the prob­lem of estab­lish­ing both lim­its and con­ti­nu­ity ren­dered the scope of chorog­ra­phy inad­e­quate. In its place, geog­ra­phy filled the role of urban delin­eation through the math­e­mat­i­cal divi­sion of the earth’s sur­face from over­head. Pre­ci­sion sup­plant­ed resem­blance, as the zenithal plan-view ascend­ed over time to rep­re­sent the ratio­nal order of mod­ern city plan­ning.16 Relin­quished of the duties of mea­sure­ment and topo­graph­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tion, chorog­ra­phy devolved into the scenic city-brand­ing panora­mas that were pop­u­lar in the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry and still fre­quent tourist maps today.

Dig­i­tal chorographies

Jame­son clar­i­fies that nov­el situational/​totality map­pings should avoid return­ing to the tra­di­tion­al machin­ery of a reas­sur­ing per­spec­ti­val or mimet­ic enclave.”17 Giv­en this caveat, how then is a rein­ter­pret­ed chorog­ra­phy poten­tial­ly rel­e­vant in the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry? More­over, how is a rein­ter­pret­ed chorog­ra­phy — which is mate­r­i­al by def­i­n­i­tion — per­ti­nent in the con­text of dema­te­ri­al­ized urban imag­ing where GPS-satel­lite and cell phone tow­ers have sup­plant­ed bricks-and-mor­tar land­marks? The ratio­nale for re-poten­tial­iz­ing chorog­ra­phy is ground­ed in the con­tin­ued rel­e­vance in the digital/​drone age of sev­er­al tra­di­tion­al choro­graph­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics. These char­ac­ter­is­tics are explored here through three inter­re­lat­ed motifs: (1) elas­tic pro­jec­tions; (2) patch­work stitch­ing; and (3) sit­u­at­ed sensing.

Motif 1: elas­tic pro­jec­tions. Although qua­si-per­spec­ti­val exam­ples are com­mon in the his­tor­i­cal record, the per­spec­ti­val con­struc­tion of space is nei­ther a pre­con­di­tion nor an ambi­tion for choro­graph­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Unre­strained by a per­spec­ti­val or pro­jec­tive stan­dard, chorog­ra­phy is anal­o­gous to a high­ly mal­leable cam­era lens that con­tin­u­ous­ly changes view­points.18 This intrin­sic elas­tic­i­ty is per­ti­nent to both spa­tial cog­ni­tion and drone technology.

Spa­tial cog­ni­tion research has estab­lished the non-mimet­ic eccen­tric­i­ties of our indi­vid­ual cog­ni­tive maps. In Kevin Lynch’s renowned 1960 imag­ing study of select US cities, this dis­tor­tion was method­olog­i­cal­ly purged from the results.19 Stretched and super­im­posed across a stan­dard Carte­sian map of each city, the spa­tial wrin­kles of the sub­jects’ indi­vid­ual men­tal maps were ironed out. By con­trast, Denis Wood’s 1973 study of dis­tance per­cep­tion between Lon­don land­marks con­serves and inte­grates the sub­jects’ elas­tic spa­tial cog­ni­tion.20 The non­lin­ear per­cep­tions of dis­tances are inter­po­lat­ed onto the city to cre­ate a series of warped maps that rep­re­sent each urban actor’s psy­cho-geog­ra­phy. In this regard, Wood’s study extends the Sit­u­a­tion­ists’ cre­ative exploita­tion of the gap between the sit­u­a­tion­al expe­ri­ence of a city and the rigid­i­ty of tra­di­tion­al topo­graph­ic maps.

Representation of individual subjects’ warped spatial perceptions of London landmarks © Denis Wood. First published in Wood, I Don’t Want To, But I Will (Ph.D. dissertation, Clark University, 1973; Worcester, MA: Clark University Cartographic Laboratory, 1973); reprinted in Wood, “Lynch Debord: About Two Psychogeographies,” Cartographica 45: 3 (2010): 194, fig. 11. Reproduced with permission.

Spa­tial elas­tic­i­ty appears to be an inte­gral fac­tor that enhances, rather than desta­bi­lizes, urban imag­ing. Nev­er­the­less, as is evi­dent in both Wood’s warped maps and the car­to­graph­ic frag­ments and flows of the Sit­u­a­tion­ists, Carte­sian plan pro­jec­tions poor­ly accom­mo­date elas­tic­i­ty. In order to retain the integri­ty of the under­ly­ing matrix, ampli­fi­ca­tion in one part must be off­set else­where with com­pres­sion or era­sure. In con­trast, choro­graph­ic space does not require bal­anc­ing with­in a uni­ver­sal struc­ture. By fol­low­ing an inter­nal sys­tem, the bespoke con­struc­tions and lim­it­ed ranges of choro­graph­ic maps are more con­ducive to express­ing elasticity.

Choro­graph­ic elas­tic­i­ty is also reflect­ed in drone mechan­ics. Unlike the sta­ble and pre­dictable glide of satel­lite arcs, drones are buf­fet­ed around in the low atmos­phere like insects. As the elec­tron­ic gyro­scopes, mag­ne­tome­ters, pres­sure sen­sors, accelerom­e­ters and sonar avoid­ance sys­tems scram­ble to keep the device aloft, the cam­era cap­tures raw imagery through a con­tin­u­ous­ly vari­able view­point. Although post-pro­cess­ing soft­ware is tasked with neu­tral­iz­ing as much of this vari­abil­i­ty as pos­si­ble, the phys­i­cal pre-process of cap­tur­ing raw imagery lit­er­al­ly embod­ies the high­ly mal­leable notion­al cam­era lens of chorography.

Motif 2: patch­work stitch­ing. As dis­tinct divi­sions between the cul­tur­al and nat­ur­al land­scape dis­solved over the cen­turies, the prob­lem of lim­its and con­ti­nu­ity dimin­ished the effec­tive­ness of choro­graph­ic map­ping. Read on their own terms, indi­vid­ual choro­graph­ic maps pro­vid­ed use­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tions of delin­eat­ed land­scapes. How­ev­er, assem­bling numer­ous over­lap­ping, elas­tic, dis­joint­ed or dis­tinc­tive choro­gra­phies into a coher­ent whole proved far more chal­leng­ing than the unlim­it­ed seam­less spa­tial cov­er­age offered by geog­ra­phy. Where­as choro­graph­ic maps reach their lim­its at a for­est, ridge, or hori­zon, geo­graph­ic (Carte­sian) maps are cir­cum­scribed only by the imma­te­r­i­al map frame, which can be infi­nite­ly extend­ed, rescaled and tessellated.

Con­tem­po­rary tech­niques for inte­grat­ing large quan­ti­ties of dis­parate­ly angled images into coher­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions sug­gest a tech­no­log­i­cal solu­tion to the long­stand­ing his­tor­i­cal prob­lem of choro­graph­ic con­ti­nu­ity. Dig­i­tal stitch­ing deploys algo­rithms to estab­lish com­mon­al­i­ties between images with over­lap­ping fields of view. Typ­i­cal­ly, when used to cre­ate pho­to­graph­ic panora­mas and ortho­mo­saics of satel­lite and aer­i­al imagery, the tech­nique employs blend­ing to pro­vide the illu­sion of a seam­less­ly smooth tran­si­tion between the con­stituent parts. Omit­ting this final step in the stitch­ing process retains the integri­ty of the seam (edge). When applied to chorog­ra­phy, stitch­ing seams along over­laps upholds the inter­nal dis­tinc­tive­ness of each map.

In prin­ci­ple, dig­i­tal stitch­ing facil­i­tates the com­posit­ing of per­son­al dig­i­tal choro­gra­phies, which are cap­tured through many unco­or­di­nat­ed indi­vid­ual drone excur­sions and com­pos­it­ed into a dig­i­tal patch­work. Over time, the accru­al of dig­i­tal choro­gra­phies onto this thick­ened patch­work sug­gests an over­lap­ping mul­ti-lay­er­ing process that is anal­o­gous to accu­mu­lat­ed leaf lit­ter on a for­est floor. In this metaphor, each crum­pled leaf rep­re­sents a phys­iog­nom­ic dig­i­tal chorog­ra­phy of a par­tic­u­lar ter­rain that is sit­u­at­ed loose­ly amongst myr­i­ad oth­er choro­graph­ic leaves. En masse, those leaves are not intrin­si­cal­ly fused into a sin­gle author­i­ta­tive map. Rather, the ves­tiges between choro­gra­phies offer a mul­ti­tude of over­lap­ping angles on places — over, under, and in-between.

Lorna Barnshaw, “Replicants,” reproduced here to invoke conceptually the crumpled physiognomy of an individual chorography
© 2015 Lorna Barnshaw. Reproduced with permission.

Motif 3: sit­u­at­ed sens­ing. If the Glob­al Posi­tion­ing Sys­tem has every fea­ture on earth tri­an­gu­lat­ed to with­in a few feet, what pur­pose do maps serve? On one hand, Carte­sian map­ping con­tin­ues toward the goal of assem­bling a vir­tu­al dupli­cate of the world. Facil­i­tat­ed by high­ly inte­grat­ed GIS sys­tems and achieved by expung­ing evi­dence of its own method of con­struc­tion, the sim­u­lacrum map exists inde­pen­dent­ly of the real­i­ty to which it orig­i­nal­ly refers. This type of map­ping con­tin­ues to ful­fill the con­ven­tion­al roles of geo­graph­ic record­ing, spa­tial loca­tion and nav­i­ga­tion. On the oth­er hand, just as nine­teenth-cen­tu­ry pho­tog­ra­phy released paint­ing from mimet­ic respon­si­bil­i­ty, the release of post­mod­ern map­ping from geo­graph­ic oblig­a­tion unlocked a surge of cre­ativ­i­ty in the medi­um. Maps adopt­ed a mul­ti­tude of forms that stretch nor­ma­tive car­to­graph­ic def­i­n­i­tions, includ­ing expe­ri­en­tial and immer­sive expres­sions of every­day life-space and instru­ments of resis­tance and subterfuge.

The diver­gence of map­ping as mime­sis and map­ping as expres­sion is reflect­ed in the dis­tinc­tion between prac­tices of site (in situ) obser­va­tion and remote sens­ing. While site obser­va­tion came to be asso­ci­at­ed with the imme­di­ate and sub­jec­tive, the over­sight pro­vid­ed by (satel­lite and aer­i­al based) remote sens­ing became estab­lished as the more objec­tive posi­tion.21 Indeed, the con­fi­dence invest­ed in the accu­ra­cy of remote sens­ing is now so com­plete that the tra­di­tion­al car­to­graph­ic prac­tice of ground proof­ing maps through site obser­va­tion has been large­ly aban­doned. Although in part a result of the sheer quan­ti­ty of map­ping data now being gen­er­at­ed, the neglect of ground proof­ing sig­nals a deep­en­ing dis­con­nec­tion between the map as a vir­tu­al con­struct and con­cern for the ter­rain to which it pertains.

The activ­i­ties of site obser­va­tion, ground proof­ing, and — indeed — chorog­ra­phy ful­fill the orig­i­nal sense of sur­vey, where­by the sur­vey­or is sit­u­at­ed with­in the space being mapped. From that posi­tion, the sur­vey­or gains direct sen­so­ry con­tact with the site/​subject. Work­ing from the inside out, the sur­vey­or con­structs a spa­tial rep­re­sen­ta­tion fea­ture by fea­ture until suf­fi­cient geo­met­ric and topo­graph­ic infor­ma­tion has been cat­a­logued to gain a the­o­ret­i­cal ele­va­tion over (but not high above) the land­scape. In spa­tial cog­ni­tion ter­mi­nol­o­gy, this sit­u­a­tion equates to sur­vey knowl­edge, which indi­cates advanced com­pre­hen­sion of the con­fig­u­ra­tion of one’s envi­ron­ment.22

Draw­ing on chorography’s his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tion with sur­vey­ing, dig­i­tal chorog­ra­phy sug­gests a plat­form for re-assim­i­lat­ing the strate­gic advan­tages of top-down, air­borne sens­ing with the ground­ed, inside-out field­work of site obser­va­tion. The drone’s eye facil­i­tates this re-assim­i­la­tion; the near-ground aer­i­al posi­tion com­bines the ben­e­fit of sus­pend­ed prox­im­i­ty for sit­u­at­ed near-ground proof­ing with the extend­ed range of the aer­i­al realm that is cur­rent­ly the estab­lished domain of remote sens­ing. The sit­u­at­ed sens­ing sug­gest­ed by this posi­tion enables the simul­ta­ne­ous rep­re­sen­ta­tion of both scales of Jameson’s new aes­thet­ic of cog­ni­tive mapping.

Recov­er­ing nearness

The drone’s‑eye view extends our per­son­al hori­zons to sit­u­ate us in the near land­scape. Cor­re­lat­ing this sit­u­at­ed near­ness with­in the vaster urban struc­ture impels new/​old forms of map­ping, which, I have argued, takes the form of re-poten­tial­ized dig­i­tal chorog­ra­phy. Cer­tain­ly, when we first cre­ate a dig­i­tal chorog­ra­phy, our atten­tion will invari­ably fix­ate on the sur­vey­ors (our­selves) sit­u­at­ed with­in the map. But, once this third per­son van­i­ty is sat­is­fied, our atten­tion will turn to the near land­scape, which fills out part of the map. In doing so, the era of third gen­er­a­tion drones may be less nar­cis­sis­tic than typ­i­cal­ly antic­i­pat­ed, as the drone’s‑length plac­ie (port­man­teau of place and self­ie) super­sedes the ubiq­ui­tous arm’s‑length selfie.

Recov­er­ing near­ness through dig­i­tal chorog­ra­phy does not imply nos­tal­gic retreat into the sin­gu­lar point of view of a seden­tary sense of place. Nor is near­ness con­sti­tut­ed as a mere tex­tur­al back­drop for the mul­ti­ple points of view of per­pet­u­al nomadism. Rather, it is a com­bi­na­tion of both sense of place and per­pet­u­al move­ment. Move­ment, whether embod­ied (phys­i­cal) or vir­tu­al (through rep­re­sen­ta­tion) ampli­fies the sense of place. For exam­ple, ports, although high­ly flu­id, are nev­er­the­less cus­tom­ar­i­ly very well defined places. Giv­en that we move places so fre­quent­ly — every five years on aver­age in the US — we, like ports, are both flu­id and fixed.23 Cog­ni­tive imag­ing is the mech­a­nism by which we inte­grate this new near­ness into a more com­pre­hen­sive image of the city.

The return to the near scale that drone-based dig­i­tal chorog­ra­phy affords also poten­tial­ly serves as a cat­a­lyst for oth­er devel­op­ments in the design dis­ci­plines. After two decades of empha­sis on large-scale asso­ci­a­tions, sys­tems, and infra­struc­tures, the drone’s eye may enhance inter­est in retain­ing and incor­po­rat­ing the incum­bent near-scale qual­i­ties latent in many waste­land sites. The revival of obser­va­tion as a legit­i­mate design method is anoth­er poten­tial byprod­uct. This, by exten­sion, sug­gests the ren­o­va­tion of envi­ron­men­tal psy­chol­o­gy, which stalled dur­ing the 1970s due to the lim­i­ta­tions of its blunt, ana­logue tools. When cou­pled with recent advances in neu­ro­science, it is con­ceiv­able that envi­ron­men­tal psy­chol­o­gy will fol­low a dig­i­tal­ly-pro­pelled renais­sance with­in design dis­course sim­i­lar to the one under­gone by map­ping a decade ago.

This is not to claim that bur­geon­ing inter­est in the drone-scape will jet­ti­son the dis­cur­sive agency of satel­lite imagery and map­ping. On the con­trary, we are now so habit­u­at­ed to using satel­lite images and maps as exten­sions of our per­sons — their sys­temic abstrac­tion is so seduc­tive­ly use­ful — that the orbital view will remain fer­tile ter­ri­to­ry for design.24 There­fore, just as drone nav­i­ga­tion is inte­grat­ed with satel­lite sys­tems — and both the near and far inte­gral to urban imag­ing — we can assume dis­cur­sive coex­is­tence between the two scales.25 Posi­tioned with­in this alliance, drone imag­ing pos­sess­es char­ac­ter­is­tics capa­ble of trans­form­ing how we image our urban envi­ron­ments. This is sig­nif­i­cant because how we image — and hence map — our present urban envi­ron­ments influ­ences how we phys­i­cal­ly shape them over time.


By Conor O’Shea

Two con­trast­ing cat­e­gories of land­scape archi­tec­tur­al prac­tice stand out today: high-pro­file pub­lic parks in city cen­ters and inves­tiga­tive design research projects. The first con­sists of main­stream real­ized works usu­al­ly con­ceived in response to RFPs or com­pe­ti­tion briefs.26 In those, prac­ti­tion­ers ful­fill a ser­vice role and have lit­tle to no real influ­ence on loca­tion, pur­pose, or fund­ing. Works in the sec­ond cat­e­go­ry seek to change the built envi­ron­ment using inno­v­a­tive design research meth­ods. They often reframe the urban through large-scale map­ping, selec­tive use of satel­lite imagery, and sophis­ti­cat­ed dia­gram­ming. Rep­re­sent­ing land­scape is put for­ward as a first step towards reimag­in­ing and reshap­ing it.

While many con­tem­po­rary urban parks lack the imag­i­na­tive­ness of inves­tiga­tive design research, the lat­ter often does not go far enough to pro­pose imple­mentable design strate­gies.27 Why is that?

Karl Kullman’s paper The Satellite’s Prog­e­ny: Dig­i­tal Chorog­ra­phy in the Age of Drone Vision” sug­gests a pos­si­ble way for­ward. In it, Kull­man links drone imag­ing to the old­er prac­tice of choro­graph­ic map­ping, an ancient but neglect­ed, place-based method of rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Drone chorog­ra­phy is a way to recov­er near­ness,” which could be a use­ful tool for con­tem­po­rary design researchers seek­ing to engage with the real­i­ties of place, includ­ing ter­ri­to­ries neglect­ed by mod­ernism and recent­ly engaged by land­scape archi­tects. As Kull­man writes, “[a]fter two-decades of empha­sis on large-scale asso­ci­a­tions, sys­tems, and infra­struc­tures, the drone’s eye may enhance inter­est in retain­ing and incor­po­rat­ing the incum­bent near-scale qual­i­ties latent in many waste­land sites.”

Can drones push the inves­tiga­tive land­scape archi­tec­tur­al design research project clos­er to mak­ing real change? Kull­man argues that drone chorog­ra­phy will have sig­nif­i­cant impact on the future of design because how we image […] our present urban envi­ron­ments influ­ences how we phys­i­cal­ly shape them over time.” That is no doubt true, but it is also some­thing we have heard often from design researchers. Stop­ping short of action­able approach­es rein­forces a dis­con­nect between prac­ti­tion­ers and aca­d­e­m­ic design researchers. Through my expe­ri­ence in both cat­e­gories of work, I have become aware of the pauci­ty of spec­u­la­tive urban visions that are both well researched and action­able.28

Could drone chorog­ra­phy help the aspir­ing design researcher come clos­er to mak­ing an impact? My own recent groundtruthing of Class I rail­road inter­modal freight facil­i­ties with the aer­i­al cin­e­matog­ra­phy and analy­sis com­pa­ny Modus Col­lec­tive29—field­work I would have pre­vi­ous­ly car­ried out using Google Earth and a Zip­Car — con­firms the ben­e­fits that Kull­man invokes. Nev­er­the­less, human-to-human inter­views, com­mu­ni­ty out­reach, polit­i­cal engage­ment, and research-based design strate­gies mat­ter more than ever. Drone imagery is a pow­er­ful tool of per­sua­sion, and it can help us reframe sites mar­gin­al­ized by main­stream urban dis­course, but what the world needs, more than ever, are rig­or­ous design researchers who not only wield tools to reim­age the urban, but who have the capac­i­ty to reshape it, too.



The eco­log­i­cal agency of satel­lite imagery was pre­ced­ed by the influ­ence of WWI aer­i­al pho­to­graph­ic inter­pre­tive tech­niques on the devel­op­ment of the mod­ern sci­ence of ecol­o­gy. See Ped­er Anker, Impe­r­i­al Ecol­o­gy: Envi­ron­men­tal Order in the British Empire, 1895 – 1945 (Cam­bridge MA: Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2001).


In the 1960s, the use of trans­par­ent film over­lays prac­ti­cal­ly cur­tailed the effec­tive­ness of Ian McHarg’s orig­i­nal method of suit­abil­i­ty map­ping.” Although suit­abil­i­ty map­ping con­tributed to the devel­op­ment of GIS, the spe­cial­ized nature of this soft­ware influ­enced its adop­tion by geog­ra­phy and estrange­ment from the design disciplines.


Cur­rent esti­mates place a GPS receiv­er in the hands one third of the world’s population.


As man­dat­ed by the Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion, 400ft is the max­i­mum fly­ing alti­tude for drones in the US.


In addi­tion to gyro­scopes, drones also depend on a range of oth­er sen­sors, includ­ing mag­ne­tome­ters, pres­sure sen­sors, accelerom­e­ters, sonar/​radar avoid­ance sys­tems, and GPS.


The catch is that, when the con­tent cap­tured by our phones and drones is inter­cept­ed, har­vest­ed, or aggre­gat­ed, we (un)wittingly par­take in a soci­ety of out­sourced self-sur­veil­lance. Although tech­niques are avail­able for dis­con­nect­ing a range of devices (aka going black”) while main­tain­ing their util­i­ty, depen­dence on inter­con­nect­ed sys­tems makes dis­con­nect­ing drones more problematic.


Clement Val­la, The Uni­ver­sal Tex­ture,” Rhi­zome (July 31, 2012). http://​rhi​zome​.org/​e​d​i​t​o​r​i​a​l​/​2012​/​j​u​l​/​31​/​u​n​i​v​e​r​s​a​l​-​t​e​x​ture/


Geo­ref­er­enced, orthorec­ti­fied, oblique, aer­i­al pho­tog­ra­phy includes Bing Bird’s Eye™ and Google Maps 45°™.


This dis­junc­tion is mem­o­rably explored in Michel De Certeau’s jux­ta­po­si­tion of the tac­ti­cal­ly immersed Man­hat­tan pedes­tri­an against the strate­gic Con­cept-city” as wit­nessed from the 110th floor of Two Word Trade Cen­ter. Michel De Certeau, The Prac­tice of Every­day Life (Berke­ley, CA: Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press, 1984).


Wil­fried Wang, On the Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Agglom­er­a­tive Struc­tures,” Daida­los 61 (1991): 106 – 107. William J. Mitchell, The Recon­fig­ured Eye: Visu­al Truth in the Post-Pho­to­graph­ic Era (Cam­bridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1992).


Since cog­ni­tive map­ping is by def­i­n­i­tion the inter­nal neu­ro­log­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of spa­tial infor­ma­tion, we can assume that Jame­son uses the term here to refer to map­ping of/​for cog­ni­tion, there­by incor­po­rat­ing the agency of rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Fredric Jame­son, Post­mod­ernism, or, The Cul­tur­al Log­ic of Late Cap­i­tal,” New Left Review 146 (1984): 83. See also Jame­son, Post­mod­ernism, or, the Cul­tur­al Log­ic of Late Cap­i­tal­ism (Durham, NC: Duke Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 1991).


Mar­cus Doel, Post­struc­tural­ist Geo­gra­phies: The Dia­bol­i­cal Art of Spa­tial Sci­ence (Lan­tham, MD: Row­man and Lit­tle­field, 1999). See also Nadia Amoroso, The Exposed City: Map­ping the Urban Invis­i­bles (Lon­don, UK: Rout­ledge, 2010).


Fran­co Farinel­li, I seg­ni del mon­do: immag­ine car­tografi­ca e dis­cor­so geografi­co in età mod­er­na (Scan­dic­ci: Nuo­va Italia, 1992). Per: Ola Söder­ström, Paper Cities: Visu­al Think­ing in Urban Plan­ning,” Ecumene 3: 3 (1996): 249 – 281.


In the his­tor­i­cal sum­ma­tion of chorog­ra­phy that fol­lows, I draw on Her­man Moll, The Com­pleat Geo­g­ra­ph­er: or, the Chorog­ra­phy and Topog­ra­phy Of all the known Parts of the Earth (Lon­don: Print­ed for Awnsham and John Churchill … and Tim­o­thy Childe, 1709); Lucia Nuti, Map­ping Places: Chorog­ra­phy and Vision in the Renais­sance,” in Denis Cos­grove, ed., Map­pings (Lon­don, UK: Reak­tion Books, 1999): 90 – 108; Edward Casey, Rep­re­sent­ing Place: Land­scape Paint­ing and Maps (Min­neapo­lis, MN: Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta Press, 2002); John Pick­les, A His­to­ry of Spaces: Car­to­graph­ic Rea­son, Map­ping and the Geo-Cod­ed World (Lon­don, UK, and New York, NY: Rout­ledge, 2004; Denis Cos­grove, Geog­ra­phy and Vision: See­ing, Imag­in­ing and Rep­re­sent­ing the World (Lon­don, UK, and New York, NY: I.B. Tau­rus, 2008); and Ken­neth R. Olwig, Has geog­ra­phy’ always been mod­ern?: choros, (non)representation, per­for­mance, and the land­scape,” Envi­ron­ment and Plan­ning A 40 (2008): 1843 – 1861.


Cav­a­lier per­spec­tives were pre­cur­sors to axono­met­ric pro­jec­tion. See Yve-Alain Bios, Meta­mor­pho­sis of Axonom­e­try,” Daida­los 1 (1981): 41 – 58.


Tanis Hinch­cliffe and Davide Deriu, Eyes over Lon­don: Re-Imag­in­ing the Metrop­o­lis in the Age of Aer­i­al Vision,” The Lon­don Jour­nal 35: 3 (2010): 221 – 224.


Jame­son, Post­mod­ernism, or, the Cul­tur­al Log­ic of Late Cap­i­tal­ism, 54.


Nuti, Map­ping Places: Chorog­ra­phy and Vision in the Renais­sance,” 90 – 108.


Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City (Cam­bridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1960).


Denis Wood, Lynch Debord: About Two Psy­cho­geo­gra­phies,” Car­to­graph­i­ca 45 (2010): 185 – 199.


Notwith­stand­ing infa­mous geopo­lit­i­cal mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tions of remote imagery that changed the course of history.


Regi­nald G. Golledge, ed., Wayfind­ing Behav­ior: Cog­ni­tive Map­ping and Oth­er Spa­tial Process­es (Bal­ti­more MA: Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 1998).


Ian Nairn, The Amer­i­can Land­scape (New York: Ran­dom House, 1965).


Lau­ra Kur­gan, Close Up at a Dis­tance: Map­ping, Tech­nol­o­gy, and Politics (Cam­bridge MA: The MIT Press, 2013).


From a tech­ni­cal per­spec­tive, the zone of over­lap for this aer­i­al imag­ing coex­is­tence cur­rent­ly cov­ers about 100 acres. Beyond that dimen­sion — with con­sumer drones prac­ti­cal­ly lim­it­ed by bat­tery life and line of sight require­ments — air­planes and satel­lites still prevail.


For exam­ple, Brook­lyn Bridge Park, New York, NY (Michael Van Valken­burgh Asso­ciates, 2003-ongo­ing); Mil­len­ni­um Park, Chica­go, IL (SOM, com­plet­ed 2004); and Cen­tral Water­front, Toron­to, Cana­da (West 8, 2007-ongoing).


Some excep­tions include A Sus­tain­able Future for Exu­ma,” at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty, OPSYS, direct­ed by Pierre Bélanger, and P‑Rex at MIT, direct­ed by Alan Berger.


The notion that, show­ing the world in new ways, unex­pect­ed solu­tions and effects may emerge” from James Corner’s sem­i­nal essay The Agency of Map­ping” inspired a resur­gence of map­ping and aer­i­al pho­tog­ra­phy as research tools by a gen­er­a­tion of land­scape archi­tects. (James Cor­ner, The Agency of Map­ping: Spec­u­la­tion, Cri­tique and Inven­tion,” in Map­pings, ed. Denis Cos­grove (Lon­don, Eng­land: Reak­tion Books, 1999), 217.) How­ev­er, in fram­ing this same quote, Hille von Seg­gern argues that the tran­si­tion from research into design remains mys­te­ri­ous: In the design and plan­ning of envi­ron­ments, it is by no means clear how we get from an exam­i­na­tion of the exist­ing sit­u­a­tion and knowl­edge of the orig­i­nat­ing con­di­tions to the design idea. Often, this is treat­ed almost as if it were a secre­tive skill. Sim­i­lar­ly, it is not self-evi­dent in the spa­tial design dis­ci­plines that the exam­i­na­tion of the exist­ing sit­u­a­tion and the gen­er­a­tion of ideas are cre­ative­ly inter­wo­ven.” (Hille von Seg­gern, Understanding=Creativity: Design­ing Large-scale Urban Land­scapes,” in Expo­sure, eds. Marieluise Jonas and Ros­alea Mona­cel­la (Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia: Mel­bourne Books, 2012), 66. While the onus is not always on the design researcher to enact phys­i­cal design, offer­ing strate­gies is use­ful. For exam­ple, in his book Dross­cape, Alan Berg­er pho­tographs and maps mar­gin­al­ized devel­op­ments in North Amer­i­ca as the basis for land­scape archi­tec­tur­al spec­u­la­tion. He con­cludes by offer­ing strate­gies for design­ing with dross­capes” to design­ers engag­ing with mar­gin­al­ized urban sites. (Alan Berg­er, Dross­cape: Wast­ing Land in Urban Amer­i­ca (New York, NY: Prince­ton Archi­tec­tur­al Press, 2006), 239.)


See Conor O’Shea, Luke Hege­man, and Chris Ben­nett, Logis­ti­cal Ecolo­gies of the North Amer­i­can Oper­a­tional Land­scape,” MAS Con­text 28: Hid­den (Win­ter 2015): 8 – 35. http://​www​.mas​con​text​.com/​i​s​s​u​e​s​/​28​-​h​i​d​d​e​n​-​w​i​n​t​e​r​-​15​/​l​o​g​i​s​t​i​c​a​l​-​e​c​o​l​o​g​i​e​s​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​n​o​r​t​h​-​a​m​e​r​i​c​a​n​-​o​p​e​r​a​t​i​o​n​a​l​-​l​a​n​d​s​cape/


Karl Kull­mann is a land­scape archi­tect, urban design­er, and asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, where he teach­es cours­es in land­scape and urban design, the­o­ry, and dig­i­tal delin­eation. Kullman’s schol­ar­ship and cre­ative work explore the urban agency of the designed and dis­cov­ered land­scape. He has pub­lished wide­ly on this area through diverse lens­es, includ­ing topo­graph­i­cal­ly cal­i­brat­ed urban­ism, tax­onomies of lin­ear land­scapes, re-imag­in­ing the enclosed gar­den, strate­gies for land­scapes of decline, land­scapes of (dis)orientation, frame­works for land­scape use­less­ness, and var­i­ous angles on tech­niques and tech­nolo­gies of land­scape imag­ing, rep­re­sen­ta­tion, map­ping, and data-scap­ing. This research is active­ly applied through design prac­tice, with built, urban, land­scape projects in Chi­na, Aus­tralia, and Ger­many and numer­ous design com­pe­ti­tion prizes and exhi­bi­tions. Email: karl.​kullmann@​berkeley.​edu

Conor O’Shea is a land­scape design­er and urban­ist, found­ing prin­ci­pal of Hin­ter­lands Urban­ism and Land­scape, and an assis­tant pro­fes­sor of land­scape archi­tec­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois at Urbana-Cham­paign. O’Shea holds post-pro­fes­sion­al Mas­ter of Land­scape Archi­tec­ture and Mas­ter in Design Stud­ies: Urban­ism, Land­scape, and Ecol­o­gy degrees from Harvard’s Grad­u­ate School of Design and a Bach­e­lor of Land­scape Archi­tec­ture degree from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois at Urbana-Cham­paign. Before begin­ning grad­u­ate study, O’Shea was a design­er and project man­ag­er at Hoerr Schaudt Land­scape Archi­tects in Chica­go, IL. From 2014 to 2016, he was a Vis­it­ing Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor in the Mas­ter of Land­scape Archi­tec­ture pro­gram at the Illi­nois Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy. O’Shea’s work as Hin­ter­lands has been wide­ly rec­og­nized through pub­li­ca­tion, exhi­bi­tion, and impor­tant awards. His col­lab­o­ra­tion with Kees Lok­man and Fadi Masoud received First Place in the inter­na­tion­al Net­work Reset: Rethink­ing the Chica­go Emer­ald Neck­lace” com­pe­ti­tion (2011). Hin­ter­lands’ Logis­ti­cal Ecolo­gies” was fea­tured in the BOLD: Alter­na­tive Sce­nar­ios for Chica­go” sec­tion of the 2015 Chica­go Archi­tec­ture Bien­ni­al. Email: ceoshea@​illinois.​edu