Did it evolve from the bottom up, like Rome or Tunis, and self-organize as the population expanded? Or was it designed from the top down, like Irvine, Calif., to accommodate modern life and the ubiquity of automobiles?
Boeing calls his visualization tool OSMnx - "OSM" stands for OpenStreetMap, a free wiki of maps from around the world, and "nx" stands for NetworkX, which is a computer software package for the creation, manipulation and study of complex networks.
With the tool, Boeing can download any city map in the world and, in addition to analyzing data about physical characteristics of the streets, create the black-and-white grids that show one square mile at a time.
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He was inspired to create the data visualization tool after reading the book Great Streets written and illustrated by Allan Jacobs, a Professor of City and Regional Planning also at UC Berkeley. In this book, Jacobs meticulously hand draws 50 one square-mile maps of cities from around the world.