Google Earth images of urban change and environmental destruction: Mind the Earth at the Danish Architecture Centre (PHOTOS).

These Stunning Google Earth Images Expose the Planet’s Rapidly Changing Face

These Stunning Google Earth Images Expose the Planet’s Rapidly Changing Face

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
Nov. 7 2014 1:44 PM

Beautiful, Terrifying Google Earth Images That Expose the Planet’s Rapidly Changing Face

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Google Earth images of rainforest deforestation, rapidly expanding urban areas, and sea-level changes are deceptively abstract and often beautiful.

Courtesy of DAC/Google Earth

“Mind the Earth,” an upcoming exhibition at the Danish Architecture Centre, is a carefully curated exhibition of stunning yet terrifying Google Earth images that offer stark photographic evidence of urban change and environmental destruction over time on the ever-changing face of the planet.

The bird’s-eye view from above can sometimes obscure the hell on the ground, as in these photos of slums, intersecting Los Angeles freeway loops, ice floe in Antarctica, or the deforestation of a Bolivian rainforest that are deceptively abstract and often beautiful from a distance.  

Deforestation of rainforest_ Bolivia_km30
Deforestation of Bolivian rainforest.

Courtesy of DAC/Google Earth

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Ice floe, Antarctica.

Courtesy of DAC/Google Earth

NezaChalcoItzaBarrio MexicoCity (Worlds biggest slum area) km3
Neza-Chalco-Itza Barrio in Mexico City, the world’s largest slum.

Courtesy of DAC/Google Earth

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Fishing slum in Manila, Philippines.

Courtesy of DAC/Google Earth

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Intersecting freeways in traffic-choked Los Angeles.

Courtesy of DAC/Google Earth

But when images of a single spot taken years apart are carefully culled and juxtaposed, they reveal the shocking pace and ravages of change that aren’t evident from the ground, asking us to confront urgent questions about the way we live and the future of food, energy, transport, and water.

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Aral Sea_Utzbekistan_km360_2013
Aral Sea, Uzbekistan, 1999 (top) and 2013 (bottom).

Courtesy of DAC/Google Earth

Dubai_2003_km3_2
Dubai_2014_km3_2
Dubai, 2003 (top) and 2014 (bottom).

Courtesy of DAC/Google Earth

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Amazon_2008_km100
Amazon, 1975 (top) and 2008 (bottom).

Courtesy of DAC/Google Earth

Mind the Earth” runs from Nov. 20 to Jan. 11.

Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.