Itty Bitty City Committee
March 4, 2010 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Model cities are useful to city planners and architects. But they're also beautiful.

3D digital models of cities are coming to GPS devices near you.

Related: Some make models look like cities, others make cities look like models.
posted by emilyd22222 (22 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
These are awe inspiring. Just, wow.
posted by nola at 8:33 PM on March 4, 2010


these are cuter than baby bunnies imho
posted by desjardins at 8:44 PM on March 4, 2010

3D models of Boston built in AutoCAD by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (the authority used to have a couple of guys who built actual models out of cardboard).
posted by adamg at 9:04 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Slightly OT, but on the DVD of Peter Jackson's King Kong, there's a jaw-dropping bonus feature showing all the work they put into creating a digital 1930s New York City for the Empire State Building sequence. It might be the single most impressive effects achievement I've ever seen.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:32 PM on March 4, 2010

I'm amazed at things like this mostly because, given the precision required to execute them, it seems as though mistakes could propagate very quickly. A few buildings are a little too wide and suddenly a street a few blocks down doesn't match up at a few points.

This post's title is the best ever.
posted by invitapriore at 9:43 PM on March 4, 2010

I hope that the Godzilla Haiku thread doesn't wander over here.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:55 PM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Beneath my boots
Your city lies in ruins!
Summon Godzilla!
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:06 PM on March 4, 2010

Carved from native olive trees this intricate scale model was completed entirely from memory by a Bethlehem craftsman (Israel's security blockade has left him unable to visit the holy city for the past 12 years). A monumental achievement, it was purchased by Banksy and 'improved' by the addition of 284 toy soldiers and one terrorist.
posted by hoskala at 3:26 AM on March 5, 2010

Miniature exhibition of the cities of the world

If you're in London, make sure to visit the architectural model on Store st.
posted by vacapinta at 3:59 AM on March 5, 2010

Cork City in Ireland contains a 1:500 scale version of itself. Small town, big model, house-level detail.
posted by genghis at 4:27 AM on March 5, 2010

awww izzums a widdle city yes himz IZ
posted by DU at 5:28 AM on March 5, 2010

Nor forgetting the classic model of the Eternal City
posted by IndigoJones at 5:34 AM on March 5, 2010

Little Bitty City Committee
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:53 AM on March 5, 2010

San Francisco In Jell-o
posted by Emanuel at 8:10 AM on March 5, 2010

they're also beautiful.

Not Toronto's!
posted by yellowbinder at 9:11 AM on March 5, 2010

In October of 2005 the woman formerly know as Mrs. TPSL and I were on our honeymoon in Chicago. It was awesome to stumble upon the model of the city at the Museum of Science and Industry. What the article glosses over is that fact that the model, at that time and may still reflect, is a slice of the the entire United States from Chicago to Seattle, WA. Small midwestern towns, rails lines, plains, and the Rocky Mountains are represented. It was really awesome, and I've got some neat photos of the model somewhere... on one of the hard disks... on one of these machines....

Chicago is the only "big" American city that I truly can say that I love. Maybe I'll get the hell out of the Bible Belt and claw my way up north.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 9:20 AM on March 5, 2010

they're also beautiful.

Not Toronto's!

We need a mayor that will clean up this city!
posted by Kabanos at 10:32 AM on March 5, 2010

During my time in Toronto I would have gladly entertained the employment option of being suspended prone over the Toronto model with a box of q-tips and bottle of rubbing alcohol.
posted by chrillsicka at 1:17 PM on March 5, 2010

Please excuse the crudity of this model, I didn't have time to build it to scale or to paint it.
posted by Lou Stuells at 1:46 PM on March 5, 2010

This is somewhat off-topic, since it's not a map of a city, but the Challenger Relief Map of B.C. is a pretty awesome sight. It's an 80 x 76 foot topographic map of the province, built meticulously, by hand, out of plywood: it was on display in the PNE grounds from the 50's to the late 90's, when it was taken down and put into storage.

I vividly remember it from childhood visits to the PNE. Although a tiny section got used by the security detail for the Olympics.

Sadly, the rest of it is still languishing in storage somewhere.
posted by jrochest at 3:00 PM on March 5, 2010

For what it's worth: Up in the attic of La Maison Tavel museum in Geneva, there is a large model of the city circa 1850, before they took down the fortification walls.
posted by mhum at 6:39 PM on March 5, 2010

PROD_TPSL: It's The Great Train Story^ [flickr][yt]. It is, however, schematic -- real buildings are modeled, but not to precise scale, and scenes such as Chicago's Loop are compressed so buildings blocks away are seemingly neighbors. As such, it isn't really a model city in the same sense as most of the others in these articles.
posted by dhartung at 10:04 PM on March 5, 2010

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