Flourish In An Urban Forest

As Manhattan rapidly grew into its surrounding natural habitat, many native species migrated from the city. Nestled between the skyscrapers, small urban forests cropped up. The largest of this forests, Central Park, is an eclectic ecosystem home to long time residents and newcomers in larger numbers today than previously counted.

The week long Data Visualization course began with desk research on forests and the challenges posed to biodiversity when urbanizing these ecosystems. In discovering that there is both inflow and outflow of species within urban pockets of nature, the map was created to visualize these dynamics in Central Park. This is done by allowing users to toggle between two time periods. Each time period shows the species makeup of the park. The hierarchy of the species makeup is conveyed through shapes and colors. The shapes represent whether a species is non-native or native. The colors describe the 4 different classes of trees found in the park.

In developing these visualizations, challenges were faced on the graphic and technical fronts. Graphically, it was challenging to figure out the symbolism for clearly emphasizing the change in species makeup. To overcome technical difficulties with manipulating grids in d3, existing code was found online for a different grid representation and manipulated for our data.