Patterns of Our Footsteps - Visualizing the Differences and Commonalities

A major objective of our climate action research is to elucidate the primary drivers, influences, and (on the other side of the coin) barriers to implementing adaptation and mitigation strategies in local communities. Our Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3) project was particularly useful for collecting these sort of insights, as it explored in British Columbia, often referred to as a living laboratory, as it explored the innovations of eleven BC communities across the province. MC3’s case communities were economically, politically, geographically, and culturally diverse, allowing for an investigation of climate change efforts in a variety of different contexts. The considerable amount of ‘thick’ data collected allowed for diverse insights, but also presented the analytical challenge of how do we comprehensively compare and succinctly capture local climate change efforts, especially for better understanding barriers and opportunities for community climate innovation?

Over the last few months, we have been experimenting with the use of interactive visualizations to illuminate connections between ideas and over-arching themes occurring within and throughout our case studies and online dialogues to enhance broader scale understanding on our research outcomes. Similarly, we have also conducted a MC3 meta-analysis, and have recently released what we refer to as a conceptual frequency curve. This type of visualization identifies common concepts and ideas in each of the community case studies (and the research as a whole), allowing us to both examine over-arching themes and compare and contrast between the case studies. For example, as we can see below, energy cost savings was the strongest concept in all the case studies. However, a closer look shows us that this was particularly strong in T’Sou-ke, where solar district energy has been implemented, and northern communities of Prince George and Dawson Creek, where community energy managers were implementing economically beneficial energy retrofits.

The conceptual frequency curve is interactive, and you can explore it by using the scroll bar and arrow buttons located below the visualization. Individual curves can be highlighted by clicking their respective names in the legend. Click anywhere on the plotting area to un-highlight and restore the full visualization.

Click here to explore more of the MC3 meta-analysis and access the MC3 raindrop plot.