1 Aug 2012

Cities at night from space

Photographing ghostsigns and other street scenes provides insights into the culture, society and history of places around the world. Ghostsigns are more prevalent in urban areas, due to their role as industrial and economic centres. This role of cities also leads to another key feature which is lighting at night. The above video offers a fascinating insight into the patterns that emerge when these lights are viewed from space. It is remarkable that astronauts can tell which part of the world they are above simply by observing the colour and distribution of lighting, as well as the presence of darkness on the earth’s surface.

I’m not sure that we currently have our best “beacon for humanity” in Las Vegas but there is no doubt that the efforts of these photographers to capture these images are a wonderful contribution to understanding ourselves and our cities.

(Picked up from the excellent Open Culture blog.)

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