Competition 2016

In the lead-up to the UN conference Habitat III, the open call Visualizing Cities requested submissions of the best city visualizations conceived by designers, researchers and practitioners around the world. The entries were carefully reviewed by an international program committee of experts from urban studies, visualization research and media outlets.

The five winning entries were presented at the event and exhibition space Habitat X Change during Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador.


Conflict Urbanism: Colombia by Laura Kurgan, Juan Francisco Saldarriaga, Dare Brawley and Anjali Singhvi (Center for Spatial Research, Columbia University)

Conflict Urbanism: Colombia

This work explores the migration patterns caused by the Colombian conflict between guerrillas, military and paramilitaries. The map shows an overview of the routes of internally displaced people in Colombia from 1985 to 2015, which were mostly from rural to urban areas. This project illustrates in a stirring way how urbanization is also forcefully driven by armed conflict.


London Data Streams by Jacopo Hirschstein & Amanda Taylor (Tekja Data Visualisation)

London Data Streams

"Can the data we produce tell us what London is thinking, seeing and feeling?" Pursuing this question London Data Streams is aimed to visualize the rhythms of London's live data ranging from Twitter posts and Instagram photos to Transport for London updates. As part of an exhibition, the datasets were represented in various levels of transformation and aggregation. This project is a particularly strong submission with high aesthetic quality and conceptual depth.


Visualizing The Racial Divide by Jim Vallandingham (Bocoup)

"Visualizing The Racial Divide" offers a visual and visceral representation of racial separation in fourteen U.S. cities. Shapes representing urban districts are gradually pushed away from each other based on differing proportions of white and black populations. Where there is a significant change in the racial makeup between neighborhoods, wider gaps are emerging. The form chosen here is novel and intruiging, with a startling and provoking effect on the viewer.


Chennai Flood Map by Arun Ganesh, Sajjad Anwar, Sanjay Bhangar, Prasanna Loganathar, Aruna Sankaranarayanan (OpenStreetMap India / Mapbox)

In the wake of unprecedented rainfall affecting the south Indian city of Chennai open source technology activists quickly created a reporting tool to crowdsource the location of flooded roads on an interactive mobile friendly map. The map had over 1 million views and collected over 15,000 reports of inundated street segments, and was widely used for research and relief work. This effort illustrates the great utility that visualization can have in grave situations.


Inclusive Maps by Ute Benz, Sylvia Kautz and Sebastian Rauer (Students of Interface Design at University of Applied Sciences Potsdam)

Inclusive Maps

The core concept of this project is to illustrate that every map is specific and no map can be universally useful for everyone. Instead the special needs of its users need to be considered. The student team behind Inclusive Maps proposes novel map concepts especially for persons with impairments. The idea is not just novel, but also significant and applicable to any city across cultural differences.

Attribution: Trophy by Karen Tyler from the Noun Project



  • Marian Dörk (FH Potsdam)
  • Owen Gaffney (Future Earth)
  • Sebastian Meier (FH Potsdam)

This project is a collaboration between the International Council for Science (ICSU), Future Earth and the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (FHP).

The project selection for the Habitat III exhibition is conducted through a review process of an international expert committee:

Program Committee

The international program committee consist of experts from visualization research, urban sciences and communication.

  • Gregor Aisch, New York Times
  • Natalia Andrienko, Fraunhofer Institute AIS
  • Gennady Andrienko, Fraunhofer Institute AIS
  • Lyn Bartram, Simon Fraser University
  • Michael Batty, UCL
  • Maja Brisvall, Quantified Planet
  • Paolo Ciuccarelli, Density Design
  • Catherine D'Ignazio, Emerson College
  • Jason Dykes, City University London
  • Christina Elmer, Spiegel Online
  • Priscila Farias, Universidade de São Paulo
  • Manuela Garreton, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
  • Daniel Gonzalez, HERE
  • Xaquín GV, Guardian
  • Drew Hemment, University of Dundee
  • Dan Hill, Arup
  • Andrew Hill, CartoDB
  • Hendrik Lehmann, Tagesspiegel
  • Ben Lowden, HERE
  • Shannon Mattern, The New School
  • Alan McConchie, Stamen
  • Greg McInerny, Oxford University
  • Timon McPhearson, The New School
  • Rodrigo Medeiros, IFPB
  • Isabel Meirelles, OCAD
  • Benedict Moran, Independent filmmaker and journalist
  • Till Nagel, Hochschule Mannheim
  • Santiago Ortiz, Moebio Labs
  • Bharath M. Palavalli, Fields of View
  • Randy Sargent, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Saskia Sassen, Columbia University
  • Markus Schläpfer, MIT
  • Sofia Seifarth, Norrköping Visualization Center C
  • Moritz Stefaner, Truth & Beauty operator
  • Andrew Vande Moere, KU Leuven
  • Nina Valkanova, CIID
  • Jan Willem Tulp, Tulp Interactive
  • Sarah Williams, MIT
  • Jo Wood, City University London
  • Martin Zaltz Austwick, UCL