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Data commentary


Image source: Cheonggyecheon | Spring 2016 | Columbia University Graduate School of

Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Spring is notorious because of its poor air quality in Seoul. The combination of smog

and the yellow dust which descends from Mongolia’s Gobi Desert every spring has

produced pollution so much that on the worst days Seoul looked like a city surrounded in

a toxic yellow blanket. There will be many days like that in whole year.

In this project, the students aim to use data collection and representation to show people

how bad is the air pollution in Seoul.

The first image is a data collection from ARCGIS, which collected the environmental

data along the river. Some data like height of the buildings, building density, even the

traffic condition will be detected and summarized. And it will be related to the air

pollution condition to analyze. As the image shows the building density is inversely
proportional to the distance to river. There are huge amounts of buildings alongside the

river coast, which obviously will make the air condition much worse.

The second image shows the air quality data along the river. They have been collected

and organized by grasshopper scripts according to air condition data. As the image

shows, the air quality visualized lines are red or yellow, which means the air quality

along the river is very bad. At the same time, we can also read something from this

image. The air quality will be terrible in the area when there is a bridge cross the river,

which probably prove some relations between vehicle density and air pollution condition.

The third image is a camera capture which shows the air quality on vertical axis. The

video is captured when they hold the air quality sensitive camera and drive along the

river. As the image shows, there is also condition variation vertically, which means some

watery environments may have some positive influences on air condition. Additionally,

the camera capture view will raise the awareness of air pollution somehow.

The forth image is a conclusive data collection, which combines the data collected in

one image to show the relations between them. The colorful lines on coast show the

human density which are summarized from the building density data and building height

data. Along the most important river in the city, where is also surrounded by roads and

expressway, colored dots and lines are used to represent the density of CO and NO2. And

there are also lines to show the height data of landform.

In sum, the poor air condition is related to the human activity along the river, like

building density, vehicle ownership, etc.