It's hard to see the forest for the trees. It's even harder to see the forest for the trees when the forest has been deforested. Translation: it's hard to see how dense or sparse a neighborhood is or has become when you are living in it. Sometimes you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Or, in this case, you need to take a hundred steps up and look at the picture from above. This is where satellite imagery can help.
Inspired by Charles Benton's "kite aerial photography" (but not actually owning a kite), I explored Bing's maps page and discovered a cool feature: "Bird's Eye View" satellite imagery. Using this tool, I "Binged" nine of my previous addresses to see what they look like from the air. To me, the results reveal much about differing assumptions of how and where we ought to live, and how we ought to go about planning cities and neighborhoods.
Check them out. Two of these are in Cincinnati, three are in Oklahoma City, and four are in Boston. Can you tell which ones are which? The first reader to put all the right answers in a comment will win a free Oklachusetts sticker.
But also, I'm wondering if you agree with me that the most aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods from the air often have the sparsest populations on the ground (and if you read my last post, you'll remember how important I think it is to have densely populated neighborhoods). Some of these 'hoods look like they were designed mostly for the approval of plane passengers cruising overhead. One more thing: which of these places looks the most "family friendly"? What does this mean, anyway? Is it friendly to have to put your kid in a car seat whenever you want to go anywhere?