miguel cabanzo: humanflows.

This article also appeared on Josh Spear.

HumanFlows is the first of a series of projects conceived during the Visualizar workshop organized by the Medialab Prado in Madrid. Led by graphic designer Miguel Cabanzo, the on-going project takes the growing trend of visualization into the study of globalization. HumanFlows maps trends of migration in the hopes of getting insight into their causes. Rather than focus exclusively on present trends, HumanFlows gathers data from the last 15 years to create a more comprehensive picture.


Given a clear visual idea of the directions people have moved their lives (realistically and figuratively), you can’t help but wonder why. What impetus encouraged huge groups of people from point A to point B, rather than point C? It’s simple to rattle off answers like “war” and “poverty” without thought, but to look at these maps and think of how actual humans have been impacted brings issues into a more powerful and personal focus.

Though still in its nascent stages, the project kicks off with map filters such as Gross Domestic Product and Unemployment. The goal is to build on this framework with more data and to shed light on the inter-connections between the different causes for people to migrate and the impact on the nations who receive them.

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