Living Maps: From Cosmos to Community

Topics: Transportation, Land Use & Land Cover Change

What makes our communities livable and resilient? Living Maps: From Cosmos to Community explores the conditions that support life, from the outer edges of the solar system to their own communities in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. Understanding these conditions can inform strategies for addressing interconnected challenges facing the region.

This event originally took place at the Land of Sky Regional Council, in collaboration with UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (Asheville, NC) on September 26, 2013. The production highlights concepts underlying the Livable Communities Initiative, a 3-year project funded by the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Three screenings and dialogues were hosted with audiences who represent an array of regional governmental, planning, NGO and academic institutions tasked to develop regional and local strategies for sustainable development, economic prosperity, and quality growth.

The “Living Maps” program explored three questions with audiences:

  • How can we make transportation between where people live and work more sustainable and affordable?
  • How do we balance land use demands among agriculture, development, recreation and environment?
  • What global and regional issues will affect our communities over the next 20 years?

The movie above showcases the first section of Living Maps, and the rest can be viewed online.

Program Kit


Storyboard & Script


Uniview Installer Files

Data Sources

Living Maps: The Conditions for Life

Living Maps: Southern Appalachia

Living Maps: Livable Communities


Whole Systems Design

Planetary Boundaries

To find out more or become involved with community issues in western North Carolina, contact UNCA’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center.


  • Renaissance Computing Institute – Asheville
  • UNC Asheville National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center



  • Jim Fox (NEMAC)
  • David McConville (The Elumenati)


  • Jim Fox (NEMAC)
  • Ned Gardiner (NOAA)
  • David McConville (The Elumenati)
  • Susan Weatherford  (NEMAC)

GIS & Visualizations

  • Jim Fox (NEMAC)
  • Ned Gardiner
  • Jeff Hicks (NEMAC)
  • Matt Hutchins (NEMAC)
  • Lindsay Irving (CAS)
  • David McConville (The Elumenati)

Historic Imagery & Data

  • Jim Fox (NEMAC)
  • UNC Asheville Photo Collections

Production Coordination

  • Lindsay Irving (CAS)

Event Coordination & Production

  • Nina Flagler Hall (NEMAC)
  • Clayton Hooker (The Elumenati)
  • Susan Weatherford (NEMAC)

Creative Director

  • David McConville (The Elumenati)

Technical Support

  • Ned Gardiner (NOAA)
  • Lindsay Irving (CAS)
  • Greg Mancari (DMNS)
  • David McConville (The Elumenati)
  • Ka Chun Yu (DMNS)


  • Ashevillage
  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
  • BR RN Patient Advocates
  • Barons Advanced Meteorological Services
  • Black Box Studio
  • Buncombe County government
  • Care Share Health
  • Carolina Mtn. Land Conservancy
  • Colburn Earth Science Museum
  • Communicatia
  • Community Foundation of WNC
  • The Elumenati
  • FAIA
  • FMD Architects
  • The GIS Institute
  • Haywood County EDC
  • Historic Resources Commission
  • Land Design
  • Land-of-Sky Regional Council
  • Madison County
  • Mountain Valleys RC&D
  • NC Department of Commerce
  • NC Department of Natural Resources
  • NC Division of Community Planning
  • Pisgah Legal Services
  • Smith Mill Creek
  • Square Peg, Inc.
  • SunDance Power
  • True Nature Camp
  • University of Georgia’s Odom School of Ecology
  • UNC Asheville National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center
  • Warren Wilson College
  • WWC Environmental Leadership Center
  • WaysSouth
  • WNC Green Building Consortium

Sustainable Community Initiative / GroWNC

The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program, branded as  GroWNC, supports metropolitan and multijurisdictional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of:

  • economic competitiveness and revitalization;
  • social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity;
  • energy use and climate change; and public health and environmental impact.

Livable Communities Initiative

Livable Communities Initiative Partners


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