A Civic Mapping Project to Determine Neighbourhood Needs

civic mapping

A Civic Mapping Project to Determine Neighbourhood Needs

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By Tyler Bird, Community Lead, Carto 

Citizen-led organisations are working in cities across the world to better understand the intricacies of housing markets, housing policy, tenant rights, as well as the socio-economic and demographic evolution of neighbourhoods.

Geospatial technology and location intelligence have become fundamental tools for analysis, communication, storytelling, monitoring and evaluation.

CARTO’s Grants For Good Programme connects academics and organisations to the technology they need to create impactful projects. In this article, we’d like to talk about an influential civic mapping project in New York City.

New York City

Rising rents, gentrification, crime reduction and immigration trends are changing the demographic make-up of neighborhoods across New York City. The Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPCNYC) is a non-profit organisation and a community of people that share ideas and shape practical solutions to help the NYC government and housing industry ensure residents’ housing needs are met.

CHPC’s mission, since 1937, is to develop and advance practical public policies to support the housing stock of the city. They do this by understanding New York’s most pressing housing and neighbourhood needs.

Much of CHPC’s recent work focuses on aggregating and segmenting demographic data that demonstrates the demographic and socio-economic shifts taking place in neighbourhoods over a ten year period.

CHPC released an extensive report, Making Neighborhoods, as well as an insightful interactive map allowing users to explore the rich temporal, qualitative, and geographic data. Explore the map for yourself to see how neighbourhoods in NYC have changed over a ten year period!

civic mapping

The civic mapping project used ‘cluster analysis’, as a way of parsing large amounts of data into groups with shared traits. Populations clusters were identified in 2000 and tracked again in 2010. Dillon Massey, Housing Informatics Designer, played a leading role in the project and managed the entire data visualisation and mapping.

“Using 16 demographic variables to measure race, age, foreign birth, household type, education level, and poverty, the model formed 14 ‘clusters’ of census tracts where populations share these characteristics.”

Citizen-led initiatives are complemented by innovative approaches by the public sector for better citizen-centric and participatory governance. The New York City Mayor’s Office is doing just that with new real-time data dashboard powered by CARTO. The dashboard shows indicators which include up-to-date crime statistics, service provision performance, health figures, infrastructure project updates, public works, 311 data, environmental indicators, housing and homelessness statistics.

It is crucial to fully comprehend how a city is performing, how neighbourhoods are changing and who is being affected by policy. This understanding is achieved by analysing, monitoring and evaluating the constantly shifting social, economic, and political tides of a city.

Article first appeared on the Carto blog.


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