Daniel Wiesmann (MPP PhD Student) and David Quinn (MIT PhD, graduated this summer) have developed an interactive web-map that allows for an integrated understanding of resource use in cities- Urban Energy Patterns. By displaying measures of construction material (kg/person), building and transportation energy use (kWh/person) and population density (people/km2), the researchers hope to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between these measures and urban development patterns. Thanks to a Google Map satellite imagery, users can examine specific urban areas, and automatically generate a detailed PDF report of the area which they examined.
This work was motivated by a desire to better understand how spatial patterns can be related to material and energy use in cities and therefore the two PhD students have mapped 40 cities across the United States hoping to contribute to the public discussion of urban sustainability. The data shown in the web-map uses a combination of publicly available datasets, survey data, and sophisticated spatial analysis methods at a high-resolution, enabling the prediction of values in cities where some data was not available.
Daniel Wiesmann (DW) gives his personal insight into the development of this project.