These Satellite Images Reveal Cities in Extraordinary Detail
Media/Scan — Karen C. Seto, Meredith Reba, Next City, 08th October 2018
A small percentage of the global footprint, cities wield disproportionate influence on humanity and its resources. “City Unseen” takes a high-level look at how urban landscapes shape the world.
VENICE, ITALY - The Ponte della Libertà is the road bridge connecting the historical center of Venice (green), made up of 118 small islands within the larger Venetian lagoon, linked by canals or bridges to the Italian mainland to the west. Barrier islands and marshes can be seen in the eastern portion of the image, separated by the Faro di San Nicolò (St. Nicolas Lighthouse) and the Punta Sabbioni Leuchtturm flanking the western and eastern edges of the waterway opening to the Adriatic Sea. Floating along the meandering canals of the historic city center, glimpses of waterfront palazzos, small neighborhood churches, and grand cathedrals are revealed to visitors and locals alike.
BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL - Influenced by the work of Swiss-French urban planner Le Corbusier, the architect Lúcio Costa won a design competition for the new capital of Brasília, which was built between 1956 and 1960 to represent a new, more equitable capital in the interior of Brazil. It has been criticized for its large-scale design, which is car-dependent and is often cited as missing a sense of place. The city plan is also critiqued for its lack of mixed-use zoning, which integrates different land use types such as residential, commercial, industrial, and cultural. The bird’s-eye view of the city is often compared to the blueprint of an airplane, with the residential and commercial sections of the city spread out like wings from the main “fuselage” made up of the Eixo Monumental (Monumental Axis) and its iconic grand administrative structures.
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - An important cultural, religious, archaeological, architectural, and artistic center, Siem Reap spreads over 400 square kilometers (about 155 square miles) and is the gateway to the archaeological sites of Angkor, the center of the Khmer Kingdom (802 CE–1432 CE). It’s home to extensive stone temples and waterways including canals, dikes, and reservoirs, such as the West Baray — a reservoir 5 miles (8 kilometers) long by 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) wide with an average depth of 13 feet (4 meters), pictured in the center of the image. It is the largest human-made lake of the Khmer civilization and was thought to originally have been filled by rainwater, although today a series of channels and moats leads to the water body. In this image, captured in February 2004, we see the low-water level in the baray as the deep blue fades into red. February is one of the driest months of the year, evidenced by sparser vegetation (red) in the bottom image.