Why Data Visualization Is Important In China

Chengdu Bus Data

Given the environmental problems China faces, in a time of limited energy supply and growing automobile use and urbanization, here’s a quote that describes the challenge in solving these issues:

To be able to address these enormous challenges due to rapid urban growth, growing travel demand, and poor air quality, city governments in China could benefit from integrated plans that jointly deal with land use, transportation as well as environmental quality implications. However, to understand how to meet the rising travel demand as the residents’ incomes grow and cities suburbanize, detailed land use and travel behavior data are crucial. Such detailed data are not collected routinely in most Chinese cities and furthermore the data tend to exclude much of the immigrant or “floating” population (Landry and Shen, 2005). This lack of data is not restricted to China alone.”

http://metrostudies.berkeley.edu/pubs/reports/Walker_Working_MeasError.pdf

Maybe MIT Sensable City lab could learn from this and consider research in China?

What if we could make informative, easy-to-read, tools to engage communities and inform policymakers?

Chinese urban areas are rapidly growing, and everything from travel behavior, traffic, land use, participatory urban design, cognitive mappingsmall-scale urbanism to environmental degradation could be visualized ; the only drawback is how transparent are these government institutions in releasing this data? In addition, how can we make this form of participation – design activism, community design, etc., accessible to a wider audience?

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