While the Bay Area’s continuously growing tech bubble has led to a plethora of innovations for both San Francisco and the rest of the world, this boom has also caused a major upswing in the price of surrounding real estate, which has attributed to longtime local residents being driven out of their neighborhoods. In order to physically manifest the detrimental effect that this has had on the city as a whole, one programmer and data artist, named Doug McCune, has utilized 3D printing technology to create a data-based sculpture depicting San Francisco’s housing crisis.
The sculpture portrays a unique map of San Francisco, where the height of each area is dependent on the average price per square foot, according to data of recent home sales. Some of the neighborhoods reimagined in the 3D printed artwork were close in value, and therefore were connected with one another. But, for neighborhoods that were distant in terms of real estate worth, McCune allowed the sculpture to split apart, showcasing the areas of the city that were most affected by economic divide.
The dataset used by McCune, which can be sourced from Redfin, exhibits 5,000 of the most recent home sales in San Francisco, each one color coded on a map by the price per square foot. McCune then binned this data into hexagons, which worked to show the differences in price in each neighborhood by color and number. This hexagonal map was then transformed into a 3D model through a slightly varied version of the “shp2stl” code, which was created and posted by McCune on his Github page.
After defining the threshold for how closely together these regions needed to connect with one another, McCune allowed any neighboring regions that exceeded the pre-defined delta to split away from each other, producing an organic spiral pattern through the map. When it came time to produce the socially focused sculpture, the data artist utilized a Type A Machines Series 1 3D printer. The sculpture measures out to about 12 inches high, and took a total of 36 hours to 3D print. Due to the spiraling and uneven nature of the sculpture, McCune had to utilize a hefty amount of support structures during the printing process. But, once these supports were removed, McCune then had to find a way to keep the 3D printed sculpture from falling over, and so he used the mesh of the bottom of the sculpture model to form the top of the base, which allowed the sculpture to fit snugly right onto the stand.
McCune has made the raw data, the 3D model of the sculpture, and the 3D model of the stand all available to download via GitHub. The programmer and data artist encourages others to print their own version, or even remix the model into their own social statement and piece of art. According to McCune, if you stand far enough directly above the sculpture, it starts to take the form of San Francisco’s actual map. But, when you look at the 3D printed artwork closely, you can’t help but see the detrimental effect that the rising real estate value have caused across the Bay Area. And, although we’ve seen 3D printed models of San Francisco in the past, none of them speak out as loudly as this one. Discuss further over in the 3D Printed San Francisco forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Doug McCune]