Quito MAPPING | The Plan
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A legendary yet contemporary city

This issue looks at another South American city: Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Located in the province of Pichincha in the western section of the Andes mountain chain above the Guayllabamba River basin, at 2,800 m above sea level, Quito is the world's second highest administrative capital after La Paz. Home to more than 2 million people, the metropolitan area stretches along the valley as can be clearly seen from the graphics traced on the GIS-based maps. Quito has grown, extending along the Guayllabamba River Valley for more than 50 km on a north-south axis, and 8 km in an east-west direction to fill the valley floor. In fact, the full length of the city is not captured by our standard (50x50 km) scale map. The population density map shows fairly equal north-south distribution. The city center - Quito’s famous historic town, officially dating back to the Spanish conquest of around 1530 - is still densely populated, even if numbers are dwindling. Immediately to the north lies a high-density tertiary neighborhood attracting large daily influxes of workers. This high worker density also extends into the historic center, making for a central area with high densities per square meter. The services density map - evidence of community life and amenities - shows highest concentrations in the historic center and nearby tertiary neighborhood to the north. In other words, Quito’s single-hub character contrasts with its vast longitudinal extension. The topographic, or contour, map reveals the city's very special location. To the west, the looming Pichincha volcano, its peak reaching some 4,700 m. In 1999, the Pichincha erupted, the spectacular scenes broadcast by televisions around the world. The part of the city on a high plateau - at an altitude of around 2,800 m - alternates with urbanized sections reaching as high as 3,200 m. Quito is therefore a sequence of hills and dales stretching out across the Puengasi, Guangüiltagua and Itchimbía...

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