Pandemics and maps

In the wake of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the CCF team came across a collection of maps that spatially visualise outbreaks, and did a little research around the analytics that illustrate pandemic movements. As it turns out, there has been an effort to document pandemics since as early as the 1600s.

Marie Patino’s article, ‘Coronavirus Outbreak Maps Rooted in History’ shares these historic maps enabling us to understand the shift in data analytics and gathering from a more central approach towards radical democratisation of technology, catalysed through Internet access and data sharing.

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This online dashboard was developed by Johns Hopkins University to track the 2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak. As of 31st January, it had racked up 52 million views, according to ESRI.1
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‘Metabiota’ structures data from multiple health organisations to track on-going epidemics. It has also on-boarded and cleaned information about thousands of previous outbreaks.1
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In the earliest documented disease map, Filippo Arrieta visualized the strategy for containing the spread of disease in the region of Bari, Italy 1690-92. (Controlling the geographical spread of infectious disease: plague in Italy, 1347-1851)1
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Valentine Seaman, An Inquiry into the Cause of the Prevalence of the Yellow Fever in New York, in the Medical Repository, 1797. (Brian Altonen) 1
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John Snow, Plan Showing the Ascertained Deaths from Cholera. The black bars represent deaths from the disease. (Wellcome Collection online archives) 1
original (1)
Richard Grainger, Cholera Map of the Metropolis. 1849, 1850. Via the Wellcome Collection online archives. 1
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Sections showing the relative intensity of the attack of cholera at the various levels along the lines marked on the cholera map. (Wellcome Collection online archives).1

Jay Hilotin’s photo essay, ‘Spanish flu 1918 v/s Covid-19′, shares interesting stills and glimpses depicting the on-ground reality of pandemics, within them is a map titled, ‘Worldwide Diffusion of Influenza’, which illustrates the second wave of the Spanish Influenza pandemic.

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PATHS OF INFECTION: Map depicting the Spanish flu pandemic 1918, Patterson KD, Pyle GF, “The Geography and Mortality of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.” Image Credit: Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 1991; 65(1): 4-21. 2

Historian Mark Osborne Humphries claims he had found “archival evidence” that a respiratory illness that struck northern China in November 1917. This illness was identified a year later by Chinese health officials as identical to the Spanish ‘flu. Humphries also found medical records which indicate that more than 3,000 of the 25,000 Chinese Labor Corps workers who were transported across Canada en route to Europe starting in 1917 ended up in medical quarantine, many with flu-like symptoms.

‘Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak’ in the New York Times, presents a constantly updating world map and illustrating the average number of new cases each day (for the last 7 days). It presents a great insight into how this strain of coronavirus propagates at a regional scale and presents an opportunity to document the global rise of the disease.

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This is a screenshot of the New York Times coronavirus map, retrieved on 25 March 2020. Sources: Local Governments; The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University; National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China; World Health Organization. 3
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The map shows the known locations of coronavirus cases by US county. Circles are sized by the number of people there who have tested positive, which may differ from where they contracted the illness. Some people who travelled overseas were taken for treatment in California, Nebraska and Texas. Puerto Rico and the other U.S. territories are not shown. Sources: State and local health agencies, hospitals, C.D.C.3

Nikhil Rampal’s, the India Today Data Intelligence Unit (DIU), used Google Trends data, to try to measure the degree of curiosity around the deadly virus in India. This analysis denoted that, across India, the search term ‘coronavirus’ was explored most frequently by people in Goa. Goa had a score of 100, (which means that the percentage of people searching for information on the virus through Google was the highest in the country). According to Google Trends, values are calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is the location with the most popularity as a fraction of total searches in that location, while a value of 50 indicates a location which is half as popular.

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Graphic produced by India Today Data Intelligence Unit, based on Google Trends data.4

FOOTNOTES

  1. https://www.citylab.com/design/2020/02/how-we-map-epidemics-coronavirus-history/606349/
  2. https://gulfnews.com/world/spanish-flu-1918-vs-covid-19-1.1582445160581?slide=34
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-maps.html
  4. https://www.indiatoday.in/diu/story/coronavirus-google-trends-search-india-bihar-goa-karnataka-1655343-2020-03-14

 

Nossa Senhora Do Carmo

Do the ruins of an 18th-century chapel and convent feature in the aspirations of a village, under pressure from the growing city?

Based on a talk at CCF by;
Fernando Velho, Architect 
along with
Erica De Mello, Student at Goa College of Architecture

In the previous blog ‘A Search for Commons in the Pressure of Growing Cities’ the problems and pressures on the Goan village of Chimbel were illustrated. Within that context, there arose a need for a public space that could serve as a commons for the village. 

Amidst the fight for a better quality of life for the people of Chimbel lies the ruins of the Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Carmo – a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Carmel. The site has been abandoned since the 1950s, but citizens recall an annual festival that continued to be celebrated, among the ruins, up until the 1980s.

The site is incredibly important not just historically, but also culturally, because it was one of the first convents run and led by clergy who were native Goans. The building is a stunning example of a specific style of architecture known as the Goan Mannerist style, a very late interpretation of Renaissance architecture, influenced by Portuguese naval architecture and executed by local artisans. 

The original owners of the site were a group known as the Tertiary Carmelites. They were a local Goan religious order who occupied the convent till 1835. After the expulsion of the religious orders from Goa in 1835, the property was seized from the Tertiary Carmelites and handed over to the Santa Casa da Misericórdia, the precursor of today’s Provedoria, (a semi-government institute for public assistance). The convent was then re-purposed as a home for destitute women and girls. In the 1930’s, Goa’s first mental health hospital was also set up at the site

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View of the nave of the chapel from outside.
Source: Fernando Velho

The ruins cover an area of approximately 2,500 square meters and occupy a site of over 8.6 acres, the site is full of natural vegetation including many old large trees.

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Model of the ruins of Nossa Senhora Do Carmo
Source: Erica De Mello / Goa College of Architecture 

Fernando Velho and Dr. Sidh Mendiratta, supported by Fundação Oriente and the Goa College of Architecture (GCA) studied the ruins, prepared detailed existing and reconstructed drawings. The report of this study and the drawings are available at the CCF, Fundação Oriente, and GCA Libraries. 

The impact of Fernando and his colleagues’ efforts has been highly inspirational, a reporter named Paul Fernandes took up the cause of the chapel and has written many articles in the news. The Goa Heritage Action Group & other independent platforms joined in a social media campaign to raise awareness around this site. These efforts have collectively led to some Chimbel residents banding together to make a collective, known as the Mount Carmel Restoration Forum. 

The site has been pinned on google maps, however, there is a wall around the perimeter and people cannot visit it without permission from the Provedoria. Nonetheless, interested people may view the site and leave favorable reviews.

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Drone image of Indiranagar Chimbel, the density of the settlement can be observed and inadequate open space, compared to the population is noticed.
Source: Dennis Figueiredo, URBZ

Fernando highlighted some of the developmental pressures on Chimbel and he argues that:

“In the village of Chimbel you will struggle to find a single public bench for people to sit on”

Chimbel village needs an equitable public space, one where children from Indiranagar can come and play with children from the old village, a space without discrimination. If not for us then at least for the next generation. But such a space cannot be superimposed on the residents, as Jane Jacobs (1961) states: “Parks are not automatically anything” it is only when people accept public space that it becomes truly useful. 

Therefore in the case of Chimbel, can this space be one of importance? As illustrated in the previous blog  ‘A Search for Commons in the Pressure of Growing Cities’  Chimbel is a heavily divided village, It needs a public space, and that space should be one that is inclusive to residents from both the Old Village and Indiranagar, one with a history of public use, and one with heritage value? Can that space be Nossa Senhora Do Carmo

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Fernando Velho addressing the audience.
Source: Lester Silveira/ The Balcaö

The Charles Correa Foundation has also come on board to provide mentorship and technical guidance to the Chimbel residents. The Foundation has significant resources on heritage grading and conservation. The Foundation is also bringing in experts like Prof. Edgar Ribeiro who understand both the legislation and a sensitive way to take this project further. This will be ideated in the next blog titled ‘Ruins, a site for recreation?’

Further Reading

Paul Fernandes Articles on N.S. Do Carmo

  1. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/chimbels-ruins-with-church-facade-on-archaeology-radar/articleshow/68662042.cms
  2. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/mt-carmel-ruins-have-tourism-scope-save-it-chimbel-locals/articleshow/66092680.cms

State Department of Archives and Archaeology takes notice of the ruin:

http://englishnews.thegoan.net/story.php?id=50351

Article on the public forum in the Goan Everyday Newspaper:

http://englishnews.thegoan.net/story.php?id=51729

CCF’s Project on Heritage Listing

https://charlescorreafoundation.org/2019/05/25/panajis-forgotten-resource-old-buildings/

Prof. Edgar Ribeiro’s talk on development in Heritage wards

https://charlescorreafoundation.org/2019/02/22/participatory-development/

Part 1 of this blog