Where We Live

Earlier this month, the Sunday New York Times included a fascinating special section.

“Where We Live” was a 4-page feast. Drawn from an enormous Microsoft database, it showed every building in the United States.

Including Westport.

The Times explains:

We found fascinating patterns in the arrangements of buildings. Traditional road maps highlight streets and highways; here they show up as a linear absence. Where buildings are clustered together, in downtown, the image is darker, dense. As suburbs stretch out with their larger lawns and malls, the map grows lighter.

Your eye can follow the ways that development conforms to landscape features like water and slopes….You can detect signals of wealth and poverty, sometimes almost next door to each other….

These images don’t just reveal cityscapes; they reveal ourselves.

I find the size of our downtown especially intriguing. It looms so large in our mind. On the Times map, it looks so small. Meanwhile, the Staples High School/Bedford Middle School complex looks so big. (Click each image to enlarge it.)

Here’s a tighter view. That’s the Post Road near the bottom, with the two condo complexes (Harvest Farms and Regents Park) at the far right.

Now check out Compo Beach. Pretty dense — no wonder it’s prime trick-or-treating territory!

What catches your eye? What did you learn about Westport? How has your perception of this place we call home changed?

Click “Comments” below.

And — to see the Times map of the entire United States — click here.

(Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

One response to “Where We Live

  1. The street identified as Hales Court in the bottom image is Drumlin Road. Hales Court is to the left of Drumlin. Nevertheless, the density shown on Drumlin is interesting in terms of the history of zoning in Westport.

    It was the building of the horseshoe-shaped Drumlin development—more than 40 homes on 1/4 acre lots in 1952—along with the building of another road with smaller lots, combined with the possibility of Longshore or Birchwood being sold to a developer that led to 1-acre zoning being put in place in many sections of town. .

    If I remember correctly, I think there was a fear that Westport’s population might grow to the size of Norwalk’s if steps weren’t taken right away.