Civ Gradient

I often talk about the “civilization gradient:” the distance required to go from high-density urban land all the way to empty, rural space. Depending on when a given area modernized and switched from, say, horses to cars, this distance can vary drastically. In “older” parts of the US, like the east coast, the gradient was largely established by feasible distances for travel by horse. On the west coast, an area largely developed after the advent of the car, this distance is usually much longer. The best exception to this is the Bay Area, where various parks around the “lip” of the Bay’s “bowl” effectively compress the distance.

In today’s photo, the whole array of Bay Area landscape is visible: the forests and trails along the peak, the industrial buildings of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the quasi-sprawl of Berkeley and Emeryville, and the full urban metropolis of San Francisco at the edge of the clouds.

Civ Gradient