30 Days of Badger – Day 21

Posted on August 21, 2014

Here’s a great article for any aspiring Urban Planner to study and bookmark to look back on. The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams: A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live. The exhibit is called “Grand Reductions: Ten diagrams that changed urban planning.”

Feel free to scroll through Emily Badger’s article and identify the different diagrams and whether or not you find them to be effective or influential. My favorite on the list is The Transect. I have yet to catch the Urban Planning bug like some of my MPA friends but from this article and the small amount of research I did, I can say this diagram got me the most excited. Online, I found the Center for Applied Transect Studies (CATS), which promotes understanding of the built environment as part of the natural environment, through the planning methodology of the rural-to-urban transect. Here are some outcomes CATS is committed to:

  • walkable, transit-connected communities
  • comprehensive zoning reform
  • context-based thoroughfare design and engineering
  • affordable housing and income diversity
  • regional, local, and individual food production
  • passive climatic response in building and urban design
  • reduction of environmental impacts and costs of infrastructure
  • development and use of renewable energy technologies
  • repair of unsustainable sprawl patterns


I have long been fascinated by the aesthetic appeal of many European cities so I did some surfing on “The European Transect”. This is the organic method of gradually moving from the rural transect zone to the urban core transect zone while maintaining uniform architecture throughout. It looks and feels very picturesque and romantic. The diagram below shows an example:


The American Transect is the concept that was drawn to create a similar plan to the European Transect. (Follow this hyperlink for a list of cities in the United States that use this model.) There aren’t too many U.S. cities that have adopted the model but it’d be fascinating to see how New Urbanists continue to implement and utilize the framework of The Transect. Maybe that Urban Planning bug is catching on after all.

Honey Badger fact of the day:

Honey badgers are intelligent animals and are one of a few species known to be capable of using tools.

Honey Badger Tools

What is your favorite diagram from Emily’s article? Let me know on Twitter: @joshg22

Close window