Over the last two years, I’ve been reading about and finding so many amazing and interesting places on the map that it puts the entire scale and diversity of the planet into perspective. Taking into account how we understand and interact our planet and immediate environment, this series: Earth Panoramas, will aim at looking at various land-forms, cities and natural features from the sky –  a perspective we rarely get to enjoy.

(All images, courtesy Google Earth, DigitalGlobe, Landsat)

earth panoramas barcelona city satellite image

1 – The city of Barcelona – One of the culturally vibrant cities in Europe, Barcelona has always been prided for its grid-iron pattern planning with a distinct arrangement of streets and buildings. While a large part of the city is pedestrianized, recent news suggested that the city planning council plans to increase this number to 60%. By creating ‘mini-neighborhoods’, the council aims at reducing pollution and increasing green spaces throughout the city.

While from the sky, the city looks really interesting, I am left wondering if such a large scale rigid planning pattern can tend to make every city corner look very similar?

earth panoramas tata steel jamshedpur

2 – TISCO, Jamshedpur – The Tata Iron and Steel Company or Tata Steel as it is called now, is the second largest Steel producer in India. Seen in the image is the overall setup of their operations in Jamshedpur, the city named after Jamshedji Tata. The steel plant is spread over several hectares and if seen closely, one can even spot the exhaust flames caused by the smelting of iron. For a full color image of the Tata Steel plant, head over here.

latur fields earth panoramas

3 – Latur, Maharashtra – Just a month ago, Latur in Maharashtra was in the news for the severity of drought it is facing. For everyone who doesn’t know, Latur is no stranger to calamity with the 1993 earthquake killing close to 10,000 people!
What struck as interesting was how even with the district suffering from drought at the moment, just a while ago, satellite imagery shows it being lush and green. Perhaps most is only scarce ground-cover that paints an otherwise rosy picture.

Kazakhstan Palace Panorama

4 – Astana, Kazakhstan – Kazakhstan was a country of nomadic people with an economy that revolved around livestock. In the early and mid 90s, Kazakhstan was under the control of the Soviet Union and in 1991, was the last country to declare independence from the U.S.S.R.
Being a communist country, Kazakhstan displays a stark satirical contrast in the way its cities develop, especially the capital of Astana. With a population of just over 600,000, the city can be seen divided into economically segregated sectors where the government and affluent occupy the central region and the other classes are strewn across the rest of the city.

Kazakhstan Palace Panorama

The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation

Kazakhstan Palace Panorama

The Kazakhstan Presidential Palace

Pictured here is an aerial of the central hub of Astana that has the Presidential Palace, the Khan Shatyr Entertainment centre, Palace of Peace and Reconciliation by Foster Partners, Bayterek, Kazakhstan Central Concert hall, the Nur-Astana Mosque and the Astana Opera among others.

Looking at the entire National avenue of Astana, one is left wondering about the wide gap between an idealist communist regime versus what exists in reality. Most of the city is in distress while the affluent or the 1% are enjoying manicured landscapes, tidy interchanges and starchitect designed buildings…

Since this is going to be an ongoing series, I plan to post a lot more images as I keep stumbling on new stuff. In case you have any specific place you want to see, please do write to me. Keep watching this space for more.

  1. Not architectural, but extremely fascinating: Look up The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tuscon, Arizona.

    • Oh man, isn’t it one insane place!

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