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In the next 100 years we can
expect human population to reach
11 billion people. What does this
increased massive growth look
like? We used a Dymaxion map
grid to communicate an
all-encompassing view of world
population density in cities through
data. The map visualizes the earth
as one entire urbanized place,
instead of unconnected
settlements, towns, municipalities,
and disparate regions. Our Bio
City Map displays population
density as a parametric graph on
the front and the back is made with
living biosynthetic matter. These
living elements focus on
numerous mega-city inhabitants,
genetically designed and grown
inside petri dishes. Our novel
approach experimented with living
populations that consisted of
hundreds of thousands of bacteria
colonies. We preferred to graph
population density with actual
colonies that were alive to
challenge typical computer driven
processes.
We chose colonies of E. coli as a
method of analog computation
using synthetic biology. Population
density was represented in two
different forms of bioluminescent
E. coli under UV light. Glowing red
E. coli represented future census
projections, while green
represented existing demographic
conditions you would find in cities.
We used the dilution method in
biology to show the range of
densities of E. coli populations in
each petri dish. Micro-stencils
derived from CAD files shaped the
E. coli into specific geometries that
display the current geopolitical
boundaries in cities.
This is an interdisciplinary project
that involved cartographers, urban
planners, biologists, and
architects, which completed a
manifestation of the near future for
human population density. We
argue that most nations cannot
view the effects of planetary
population density through the
lens of just one city or region.
Instead we aimed to reveal the
long-range effects of immense
human population in areas of
present and speculative urban
intensity. Moreover, we expanded
the technique of "bacteriography"
(bacteria photography) to shift
scale and underscore the highest
zones of growth.
Ultimately, the bacterial shapes
grow to reveal variant patterns of
biological transformation in urban
regions. By using biosynthetic
based materials, we expect to
narrow the gap between idealized
mathematical interpretations and
observable events in nature.
Our team consisted of a
consortium of individuals trained
and/or working at the Harvard
University Medical School, Harvard
GSD, MIT Media Lab, NYU, Cooper
Union, and local nonprofit
organizations.

Credit: Mitchell Joachim, Nurhan
Gokturk, Melanie Fessel, Maria
Aiolova, Oliver Medvedik. Research
Fellows; Chloe Byrne, Adrian De
Silva, Daniel Dewit, Renee
Fayzimatova, Alena Field, Nicholas
Gervasi, Julien Gonzalez, Lucas
Hamren, Patty Kaishian, Ahmad
Khan, Laasyapriya Malladi, Karan
Maniar, Ricardo Martin Coloma,
Puja Patel, Merve Poyraz, Mina
Rafiee, Mahsoo Salimi, Manjula
Singh, Diego Wu Law.
BIO CITY MAP of 11 BILLION
World Population in 2110
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