Some cities’ roads follow regimented grids. Others twist and turn. See it all on one chart.
Geoff Boeing calls this structure the “logic” of a city, and he would know: An urban planning scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, Boeing developed a tool to let anyone visualize this urban logic in seconds.
It works by using an old geography technique: the “polar” or circular chart. Boeing’s tool calculates what percentage of a city’s roads run along each section of a compass, and plots it on a circular bar chart. The island of Manhattan, for example, runs from south-southwest to north-northeast, and most of its streets are parallel or perpendicular to the island in a regular grid. Boeing's program visualizes that as four long bars, with several shorter bars representing the borough’s minority of streets that don’t line up with the grid, as illustrated in the circular pattern below.