Monday, May 10, 2021

The Building Heights of Beijing

Wendy Shijia has created an interesting building height map of Beijing. Wendy's The Height of Central Beijing colors individual buildings in the Chinese capital based on the number of levels they have.

Unlike many other cities around the world Central Beijing actually has shorter buildings in its center, with its taller buildings concentrated outside of the city center. This is mainly because the map is centered on Beijing's historic Forbidden City, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty, and which was built long before the current craze for ultra tall buildings. 

Another interesting visualization which allows you to explore city building height data is the Rendering OSM Objects in Mapbox GL interactive map. This map includes a dynamic histogram which tells you how many buildings of each height there are within the current map view.

Drag this map around and the histogram will automatically update to show you the number of buildings of different heights in the map view. A small inset map also provides a 3D view of all the shown buildings which provides a neat overview of where the buildings of different heights are actually situated.

There are many reasons why you might want to show the number of buildings by height in a defined area. For example, many residents in my neighborhood are currently fighting a planning application for the development of a tall block of apartments. This map could be used to show the current number of local buildings of different building heights. It could help to highlight how a taller building would look very out of place in a neighborhood which is predominantly constructed of much shorter buildings.

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