“City Smell” Mappers Want Urban Planners to Use Their Noses

The Urban Sustainability Laboratory

Jenn Stanley
Next City
June 8, 2015

This “smell map” of London shows emission odors in red and natural scents in green. (Credit: Daniele Quercia, Rossano Schifanella, Luca Maria Aiello, and Kate McLean)

There are many ways to map a city: a basic street map, a neighborhood breakdown, by demographics. Now, thanks to researchers from the academic and technology worlds (Yahoo), we have something a bit different: the smell map.

The authors of “Smelly Maps: The Digital Life of Urban Smellscapes” used their own noses, crowdsourcing and social media to create odor-centric maps of cities.

According to the Washington Post:

Smell is hard to record, analyze and depict visually. So to make these maps, the researchers first created what they call a “smell dictionary” with the help of volunteers around the world. They asked dozens of residents in seven cities in Europe and the U.S. — Amsterdam, Pamplona, Glasgow, Edinburgh…

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