Ricky Yu | BeltLine Green



Data Visualization

Interactive Installation

Civic Design

Team work



BeltLine Green is an interactive data visualization project which uses a custom-designed seesaw as an informational object to allow people to interact with the data about the Atlanta BeltLine. During the construction of the BeltLine, people can see notable changes, such as the growth in both home values and the area of green spaces. In this project, we used an interactive installation to encourage the people who live around the BeltLine to discuss and think about the changes in living quality and cost in their neighborhood.


We use median home value data from Zillow Home Value Index and Trees Atlanta data from 2011 to 2014 to represent the two major changes that BeltLine has brought to the neighborhood nearby. Trees and money can be used as indexes for the quality and cost of living. And "green" can be a metaphor for both trees and money. We wonder if we can find a relationship or communication pattern between the two green stuff.


We chose a seesaw as the medium of our data visualization, as the playfulness nature of a seesaw can help people with different occupations to communicate with each other and create some meaningful discussions about the BeltLine.  At the same time, the physical movement of the seesaw can help people to read the data from two datasets.


​Data Visualization

In this prototype, we are demonstrating the data from Old Fourth Ward, one neighborhood that suffers from gentrification around BeltLine. We took the median home value data from Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) to present the changes of home values. Since Old Fourth Ward lies in the middle of the areas defined by zip code 30312 and 30308, we took the average of the home values in these two areas. As for the trees' data, we used the geographic boundary of census tract 17, where Old Fourth Ward lies, to find all the trees planted by Trees Atlanta in that neighborhood. By visualizing these two datasets from 2011 to 2014, we can see a remarkable increase in the housing values and the number of trees. In conclusion, people who live here had a better environment but the cost of living also increased.



Seesaw is a common object people can find in a park. And it can also arouse their interests in interacting with it. So, we decided to use seesaws to present data, allowing people to read data through their physical movements.


The person sitting on one side of the seesaw can only see the data of trees, while the person on the other side can only see the data of median home values. This encourages people to exchange the information they observed and start a conversation about the BeltLine.


The final prototype demonstrated the data over the course of four years, from 2011 to 2014. In order to show different dimensions of the data, we designed a seesaw that can rotate both vertically and horizontally. We mapped the horizontal rotation of the seesaw to time, such that one revolution represent twelve months. We mapped the vertical rotation of each side of the seesaw to the number of the trees and the median home value. At the same time, people can read numbers and graphs directly from a screen in front of them.


Data Walk Flow

BeltLine Green encourages residents and visitors on the BeltLine to get involved and rethink the changes around them. Thus, we decided to put the seesaws in public spaces around the BeltLine to draw people’s attention. We structure the interactive process in the form of a walk. People can walk along the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark to visit different seesaws and experience the data that represent different neighborhoods.


Eastside BeltLine Trail is the first finished trail along the BeltLine, where people can see greenspaces and newly open markets around their neighborhood. We choose Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark, as the place to deploy our installations. We put seesaws around the park to represent different neighborhoods along the BeltLine. For example, the seesaw on the southeastern side of the park represents the Old Ward Fourth. People can walk along the park visit different seesaws to read the data of different neighborhoods.


Zillow data is a reflection of the changes in living cost, Atlanta Trees Data is a reflection of the living quality. While the person on one side keeps talking about the changes in living quality, the other side might concern about the growth in living cost. Then they may exchange their thoughts and experiences on this issue. We believe this conversation can put people in others’ shoes and help them think critically about the changes brought by the BeltLine and issues caused by the development of their neighborhoods, as well as possible solutions to such issues.


Designed by Fangxiao Yu,

last updated in February 2019